From Habukkak to the Cries in the Streets, A Difficult Sermon #PhilandoCastile

Righteous Anger in streets

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,

and you will not listen?

Or cry to you “Violence!”

and you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrongdoing

and look at trouble?

Destruction and violence are before me;

strife and contention arise.

So the law becomes slack

and justice never prevails.

The wicked surround the righteous —

therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

(pause)

These are words,

That have the capacity to dig and carve

Out of the soul of a fragmented being

Ultimately exposing the prayer lifted,

God,

Let these lamentations

Reach you

So that

We can

Move

From pacifism

To

Activism,

Living into what Jesus calls us into

“Cure the sick,

raise the dead,

cleanse the lepers,

cast out demons.

You received without payment;

give without payment”

(pause)

I don’t know about you,

But my soul

Is weary

And I am looking

For a WORD.

(pause)

In the Heidelberg Disputation,

Luther professes that as a theologian of the Cross

He “calls a thing

What it actually is”

Luther,

Was bold enough

Steeped in his faith enough

Empowered by his interaction and immersion in the Holy Spirit enough

To call out

The evil

That had a profound,

Wide reaching impact

Tearing an oppressed community

To oblivion

Why are we so afraid,

Even when Jesus Christ promises us

“I am with you,

Even to the end of the age”

That we are timid to call out

To expose

To challenge the systemic evil

That has gripped our collective lives together?

(pause)

I think our Bible Study group this week,

In studying Revelations

Got it!

The mark of the beast is not

The chip in the hand,

The mark of the beast in this world

Is HATE,

And sometimes

That mark

Doesn’t wash off so easily

Even in the Blood of the Lamb

(pause)

Humanity,

Is sick with what seems endless opportunities

To wealth

And access to money

And we do whatever we need to do,

To obtain it,

Even if it means,

Cutting corners on infrastructure

Violating building codes

All in the name of profit

Until our hate

Is exposed

In flames

(pause)

Humanity is sick,

With climbing the proverbial ladder

Achieving selfishly everything for ourselves

Because life is too unpredictable,

And because we can’t touch or see

Or get a monetary return on faith,

We must have complete control,

So, our lives will be secure

Therefore,

Instead of listening to Christ’s commandment

About loving one another,

We judge the worthiness of one another

We block and segregate our communities from one another

We teach hate and suspicion to one another

We embed this hatred into our human made laws

Based on our limited understanding of one another,

Until one day,

The elephant in the room cannot be contained any longer

And our hatred is exposed,

With the blood that flows in the streets

Simply because,

We have deemed

Only the powerful and the dominant will survive

And the “other”

Are subjected to subhuman status,

Because hate has drove us to mark the “other” with ugly labels

Leaving a child,

With fear in her eyes.

(pause)

Dr. King’s dream

Of one day people not being judged by the color of their skin

But,

By the content of their character

Seems to be permanently deferred.

And the question that is echoing

From the wilderness,

Is it too much

For people of faith,

To follow Jesus?

To live out these acts of discipleship

Here in our Gospel this morning,

Which are critical

To being the building blocks

To dismantle the hatred,

That has the potential

To infect all,

Healing

And

Liberation.

(pause)

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

There are no answers I can give you today,

Only that,

I too,

Know the Creator God will never abandon us,

That the Creator weeps with us

And that the Creator bears our burdens for us.

(pause)

So what comfort,

Does the Bible

Give us today?

What does the Bible

Remind us,

About where we are called into?

Because,

Let’s be clear,

We,

As children of God

As people of Faith,

Are indeed

Called into something!

Just as Jesus

“saw the crowds,

he had compassion for them,

because they were harassed and helpless,

like sheep without a shepherd”

What is our response,

To those who are routinely harassed

Regulated to the invisible

Left to fend for themselves

And the tatters,

Of those bootstraps

(pause)

Just as Jesus,

Charged His disciples

“The harvest is plentiful,

but the laborers are few;

therefore ask the Lord of the harvest

to send out laborers into his harvest.”

They also understood,

That this was not a call,

To simply blindly recruit people,

To simply get them to believe in Jesus Christ

In a vain attempt towards quantity,

Instead of relationship,

But to follow what Christ called them,

And us

To do,

Concretely.

I think as people of faith,

We miss the meaning

We get so wrapped up in conversion,

We don’t live into a spirit of encouragement

Empowerment

THAT,

Is what Jesus

THAT is what the Good News

Tasks of us, beloved!

(pause)

Just as Jesus,

Instructed the disciples,

With the hard but rooted work that needed to be done,

Because of Love,

“As you go,

proclaim the good news,

‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.

Cure the sick,

raise the dead,

cleanse the lepers,

cast out demons.

You received without payment;

give without payment,”

So too,

We should proclaim and profess,

Practicing public witness,

Not afraid of any repercussions.

Or is that the issue?

That the kingdom of God is approaching,

And we,

Are running away from it?

As people of faith,

Have we done all we can,

To work towards,

This vision,

Of transformation?

Who is still not present,

Invited,

At the Table?

Who is still withholding the seat,

That the Creator has meant

WE,

Should be giving up,

So that THEY,

Experience the goodness of not only the Creator,

But of our commitment to one another,

Regardless

Of the color of our skin,

Or the language of our voices

Or how we worship,

Or whether we live as lepers.

(pause)

The Kingdom of God,

Is near!

So we should not EVER be afraid!

The Holy Spirit,

Is NEAR

So we then are infused with the power to heal!

Healing through our presence with one another

In times of tragedy,

And violence

We, beloved

Have the power to cleanse those who are suffering

Cleansing through holistic prayers,

Through laying on of hands,

Through breaking bread

Through just being there

We,

As marked with the sign of the Cross,

We,

Have the power to cast out demons,

Yes,

If you seriously think that evil is nothing more than an abstract thought,

Then obviously, you’ve missed the mark of the beast,

That has plagued many, many places

In our collective history,

Through the attempted destruction of our Indigenous sisters and brothers,

From here on their land of native soil,

To the Aborigines of Australia

With violence against sacred bodies

And forced assimilation

Through the attempted annihilation of a peoples,

Of the African Diaspora,

From slavery to civil rights to now

With violence and intimidation

And erasure of our history

Through the attempted obliteration of a people,

Who shared with us, as followers of Christ,

A history,

The roots in which we, as Christians came from!

With violence heaped upon our Jewish sisters and brothers,

Simply because they indeed, heard the Gospel

And lived it!

Through the attempted eradication of a people,

Who also share a history with us,

Who understand about submitting to the will of God,

Simply because somewhere,

Someone didn’t take the time,

To translate Allah Akubah,

As a prayer of praise to the God we all serve

With blind violence,

Which surely is,

The worst violence of all.

(pause)

If we,

Claim to be Christian,

Claim to follow Christ,

Then because we are marked with the CROSS

Instead of the mark of the beast,

We have the power-

To cast out that which is demonic,

Which threatens to block our collective,

Communal

Pathways,

Which lead us

To the One,

Who hears,

Sees,

Loves,

And gave us

Liberation,

Through Jesus Christ

That we were not only able to live,

But that we would give of ourselves

To those that the Creator has charged us to,

Through the healing,

And liberation

Of the Gospel,

And of the Commandment

Of Jesus,

To love one another,

ALWAYS

Thanks be to God

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.