Who do you party with? A question for troubled times, from virtual MLK service in Morristown

The Rev. Jerry Carter Jr. delivers keynote at virtual sermon on MLK Day 2021. Screenshot by Marion Filler


By Marion Filler

Who are you partying with?

The Rev. Jerry Carter Jr. turned to Jesus for guidance Monday, on Martin Luther King Day in a nation gripped by a pandemic and shaken by a white supremacist siege on Congress.

“The likes of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey are all credited with speaking revolutionary words, but none of their words compare to words of revolution that Jesus often speaks,” said Carter, senior pastor of Morristown’s Calvary Baptist Church, in the keynote to this year’s virtual MLK worship service.

Carter cited such well known admonishments as “no one can love God and money,” and “love your enemy,” and “let the great among you be the servant of all.”

Then he turned to Luke 14:13, using the metaphor of a banquet at which Jesus exhorted his hosts to invite those less fortunate to the table: “Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Radical hospitality, Carter called it.

Food for thought: Keynote by the Rev. Jerry Carter Jr., MLK Day 2021. Video by Marion Filler for MorristownGreen.com:

“Who are you partying with?” he asked. “Embedded in the words of Jesus is always the potential for revolution and for change.

“We ought to party with ‘the other,'” the preacher said. Using the example of Democrats and Republicans, he said limiting ourselves to the company of people who look and think the same leads to “extreme partisanship that is poisoning our society.”


Carter’s powerful sermon followed Morristown’s 36th annual interfaith breakfast–also moved online this year because of the coronavirus– to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. on what would have been his 92nd birthday.

The Rev. Robert Rogers of the Church of God in Christ for All Saints defined the service as Healing the Nation, a Dream of Hope and Unity.

Speeches and musical interludes filmed in previous years led to the Rev. Derrick Dumas introducing Carter, who has served at Calvary for 30 years and “whose voice has had an impact upon this nation.”

‘Extreme partisanship is poisoning our society’ : The Rev. Jerry Carter Jr., MLK Day 2021. Video capture by Marion Filler for MorristownGreen.com

Before MLK Day became a national holiday, Morristown was commemorating King’s birthday. Felicia Jamison helped establish the Martin Luther King Observance Committee 51 years ago.

On this day of remembrance, Carter honored the slain Civil Rights leader by focusing on tolerance and inclusion. Ultimately, he hopes this will bring change that King would have embraced:

A seat at the table for everyone.

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