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Nothing But the Echoes of the Past: Remembrance, Repentance, Repairing. A Sermon in Pentecost @ Wicker Park Lutheran Church

The sounds from the jail cells of the Wilmington Ten

Are echoes of a massacre keeping Black freedom locked in

The sounds of struggle you hear that are filling your world today

Are echoes of the voices your fathers killed and smothered away

You can steal my tongue

I dare you to try to hush my song

My screams of freedom will flood the air

Of your children — centuries unborn

(pause)

Good morning,

I bring you greetings

From your fellow sisters, brothers and siblings in Christ

Of Body and Soul UChicago Campus Ministry,

At Augustana Lutheran Church,

Where we are committed

To living out our faith,

Through concrete action,

Because who are we to tell someone,

that they should just pound the pavement

until they find a job,

when we know that the system

is corrupted

and instead,

we give of ourselves

not only through sacred worship

but the sharing

of sacred

food,

that should always come

without price,

and cost.

(pause)

We can spout Scripture,

Twisting it to judge people,

Based on our understanding

And definition

Of morality.

But we rarely,

Live it out.

(pause)

The elephant

In the room

For many Christians,

Is the word

“responsibility”

(pause)

“Responsibility,”

Quotes Dr. Michael Battle,

In his article

About the incarceration of Black Spirituality

And the disenfranchised,

“means not just that

We are responsible to others,

And that others have a right to demand

Certain kinds of behavior

From us,

We are also responsible

FOR each other.

Each of us

Must answer

For someone else’s welfare,

As well as our own,

And that means

That someone else

Must answer for us,

Whose concern

Is

Our

Welfare.”

(pause)

We,

As Christians

In this American context

Have done a poor job

With hearing the WORD

And allowing that WORD

To feed us

Allowing that WORD

To nurture those seeds

That the Creator planted

Within us

Allowing the WORD

To heal us

When we stumble back,

Reeling from the poison

That this world

Has forced

Into

Our

Very

Being.

(pause)

I had a conversation

With my Mother

A couple of nights ago,

As an Elder and matriarch of our family,

She should be

Enjoying this season of her life.

But each morning

She asks of the Creator,

To give her purpose

And an opportunity

To serve.

She told me the story

Wednesday evening

How she spent helping a young woman

Of 29

And her 5 children

Who

Were homeless.

My mother lives in South Holland, IL

It is the place I first served after I was ordained

It is also the place I became even more disillusioned

With those who identify,

But do not walk

Or follow

The Risen One,

Jesus Christ.

(pause)

In this entire suburb,

With more churches

Per square foot,

None of them

Were open,

None of them

Were willing

None of them,

Answered my mother’s call

For assistance.

The local police,

Disregarded

This young mother,

Disregarded perhaps,

The WORD that I would hope

Was being preached and taught

In those holier than thou churches

That I knew,

Many of these public servants

Were “members”

(pause)

So then,

putting away falsehood,

let all of us speak the truth

to our neighbors,

for we are members of one another

(pause)

But apparently,

These teachings,

These words here,

Hold no weight

For police officers

Who only saw

Michael Brown’s skin

And decided

That he was a threat

That merely needed to be

Eliminated

(pause)

These people

Watching the anguish of a city

Pointing and judging a community

Saying

“Are these not the same

POOR

PEOPLE.

The children of

Ferguson,

Because we never bothered to build relationships

With their mothers

And fathers

And we know,

Won’t amount

To anything.

Why are they

Protesting?

Why are they

Resisting?

Why are they

Reacting?

(pause)

Is this not

Heather Heyer,

Daughter of Susan,

Whom none of us knew

Until

A white supremacist

Decided that her body was not sacred enough

That he could not see,

The reflection of the One

Who proclaimed

“I am the living bread

that came down from heaven!”

That Good News,

That is for all of us.

(pause)

Instead,

Heather’s life

Was not sacred enough

As another fellow beloved

Of the One

Who cradled us,

Breathed us

Into this Life

And surely,

Recognizes all of us,

As the Creator did of Heather,

And Michael

And Martin

And Dr. James Cone

And Dr. Katie Cannon

And Tamir

And Travyon

And called them,

Back

Beyond the veil

into

Eternal

Life.

(pause)

But,

We miss the WORD!

We push away from the Table,

The Good FOOD

We frown at the Bread

Before us

Instead filling our very being

With other things.

That never satisfy our cravings

(pause)

And can we talk about the shade

Jesus throws here?

Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness,

and they died”

Like Jesus gets real.

This physical food,

That we think can cure all

Cannot.

This human made power,

That we think can fulfill our every wish

Cannnot.

These status symbols,

This selfish way of living

That we think can make our lives great again,

CANNOT.

(pause)

Especially,

When we’re not even living

According to what Jesus Christ had been teaching the people,

His disciples

Those non believers-

Who did not want to believe in Jesus

Because His way,

God’s Word,

The Spirit feeding us

Makes us

Uncomfortable

Because then,

We live our lives

For others,

And not just

For ourselves

(pause)

When we refuse,

this life giving food,

that Jesus gives of Himself

and feeds us

and the bread

that I will give

for the life of the world

is my flesh.”

(pause)

“Let no evil talk

come out of your mouths,

but only what is useful for building up,

as there is need,

so that your words

may give grace

to those who hear.”

(pause)

Who needs to hear,

From you

Who needs to be fed

With the food you carry,

Which comes from the seeds

Planted within,

How will we remember,

Repent

And

Repair

What will we commit to?

(pause)

Nothing but the echoes of the past….

Nothing but the echoes of the past….

(pause)


Thanks Be to God.