The Holy Spirit Speaks, Provokes, Empowers: A Sermon

Preached on Mother’s Day

“The one thing I have never been afraid

of is standing before important people

and speaking my mind.

I represent women

who may never have the opportunity t

o go to the UN

or meet with a president.

I’m never afraid to speak truth to power.”-

(pause)

When times are difficult,

Beloved

Where do we hang our troubled hearts?

And where do we draw strength,

So that we can speak

A prophetic word,

Knowing that there will always be risks

To unveiling truths

(pause)

The presence,

And the power,

Behind our voices

As Women,

Always seems to

STIR LIFE UP

As the saying goes,

Well behaved women,

seldom make history.

(pause)

It’s Mother’s Day,

I don’t know about you,

But I come from some pretty fierce roots,

Women in my family

Who spoke their mind,

Sharing their wisdom,

Whether we wanted it or not,

Especially as we became Mothers

Who were not afraid to speak truth,

So that we would not make the same mistakes

That they encountered

Nor,

For us to never be afraid,

Of who we were

And who God created us to be

To witness,

To the Love God had and has shown them,

Even when times were difficult

To stand up for their children,

Protective,

And had no problems putting people in their place

Reminding them.

That our lives,

Birthed from their bodies

Belonged to them

(pause)

Women,

So many are not mothers,

And yet,

We embrace them as such

For what they instill in us

Women such as Leyhmaee Gbowee

who refused to watch her people perish

drowning in seas of war,

And through her activism,

Helped bring about peace

Ending the Liberian Civil War.

It was not just on her strength alone,

But her faith

(pause)

Women such as Malala,

Who refused to remain silent

Who refused to hide,

Even after she was attacked,

For wanting to learn,

To explore

To be who the Creator called her into this life,

And amid death threats

She continues to fight for equal education,

For young girls like her.

It was not because her story was world wide,

But because of her faith

(pause)

Women such as Daisy Bates,

Who was tired of being tired,

Of African American children being denied their humanity

Lack of resources

Because of her love for her community,

She spearheaded the Little Rock Nine

to get a quality education

It was not because she was moved do just do something,

It was because of her faith

(pause)

Women such as

Huldah

Esther

Judith

Hagar

Deborah

Mary,

And for that matter,

All the unnamed women in the Bible,

Who spoke truth to power

Who were not afraid,

Because they knew they were loved

By the Creator

They hung their troubled hearts deep within their faith,

leaning on the Cross

when the world attempted to shun them,

shut them up

and cast them out

-because they could not believe the Holy Spirit

was speaking prophetically through them.

Even we see the Holy Spirit as She

because Women’s voices are unique in expressing

and

lamenting

Demanding change.,

and asking for truth.

(pause)

(pause)

Like women in our own Church,

who refused to remain in the background

when the Holy Spirit pushed them into the role of Pastoral leadership,

shattering the myth that Women should be silent

and not preach prophetically

Women such as Rev. Earlean Miller,

And the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Pero

Women such as Rev. Traci Blackmon

And the Rev. Dr. Joanne Marie Terrell

These women are public with their witness

And their calling,

And yes,

The Holy Spirit has stirred within them,

And because of their testimonies,

They too,

Like so many,

Have been attacked physically

Have been jailed

Have been ostracized

Ironically,

Because of their faith

And because,

Of following Jesus Christ

(pause)

And in the same vein,

Stephen disturbs the status quo,

Stephen is continuing to live,

As Christ has called all of us to do

Stephen is lauded as martyr;

Stephen,

By his own people,

Because of his preaching,

His teaching,

His prophesizing

That because Jesus Christ is the way,

The truth

The life

That who we are,

And this life

Changes

To where what we do,

How we live

Is just not for our selfish reasons,

But because of the beloved community here

Because the resurrection RADICALLY TRANSFORMED

Not only Christ,

But us

They did not want to hear it.

They did not want to be reminded of their failings

They did not want to hear,

Or change

(pause)

Is this why we as the Church

are so afraid to speak?

Challenge one another?

See,

It’s okay when the Holy Spirit

lovingly embraces us,

as what occurred in Pentecost.

We are all about affirmation

It’s okay when we see the HS as a gentle dove,

because its not threatening to us,

and to the agenda we have for our lives.

It’s okay to think about the Holy Spirit as just background noise

But when She MOVES…

(pause)

See,

It’s okay to tell churches

that they now have the power to direct their congregations

about who to vote for,

free speech and all

But

When the Holy Spirit moves our sisters and brothers in Christ

and in faith,

Moves our spirit

to remind us about what our purpose and call is

To use that same PUBLIC VOICE

To push back against inequality

To advocate for the poor

See,

That just because somewhere in Scripture

it says “the poor will always be with us”

does not mean we are to ignore them,

walk past them,

belittle them

when they are literally DYING on the streets

Because even though they are with us,

JESUS DID NOT MEAN FOR THEM TO REMAIN IN PAIN!

The Creator did not create poverty

What Jesus calls us into,

Is not apathy

But advocacy,

Not silence,

But prophesy!

And Jesus,

Knowing we would struggle

Drop the ball,

Jesus gives us

Surprise!

The Holy Spirit

And when we as the body of Christ, cry out

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me

To give Good News to the poor

To set the oppressed free

When we dare to come from behind our walls,

Suddenly,

Our witness

Is met with stones.

And yet,

Even when we are ridiculed

Jesus tells us,

Do not,

Do not be afraid,

Believe in God,

Believe also in me.

Even when people doubt us,

Jesus says,

Do not be afraid

Believe in God,

Believe also in me

Even when they try to drown out our voices,

Just like Stephen,

Just like Hagar

Just like Malala

God is there with us,

Telling us,

Do not be afraid.

Thanks be to God.

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