The Peace of Christ
Loving God, Not Hate
May 31, 2020
Father David Jones
Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on through the light
Take my hand, precious Lord
And lead me home
When my way grows dreary
Precious Lord, lead me near
When my life is almost gone
At the river I will stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand, precious Lord
And lead me home
– “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” by Thomas Dorsey
I didn’t know what to say today
So I called on the ancestors
And asked what is there left to say
It seems to me that everything has been said
I cannot speak to what has not been heard
But what is there to say and to whom do I need to say what?
And Thomas Dorsey came to the ambo
And of course, if Uncle Tommy came
Miss Lena McLin sent him
I wanted to, Lord know I tried, I wanted today’s sermon to be from
Deborah Cox’s sermon Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here
But young folks have to give way to the wisdom of old folks
Especially when old hate is in the air.
How did we get here?
We have come over a way that with tears that has been watered
How did we get here?
We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
The blood of the Lamb
The blood on the hands of Pontius Pilate
The blood of the majority
The blood of drugs
The blood of mass incarceration
The blood of police brutality
The blood of murdered
The blood of the martyrs
The blood of people killed for sport
But let us be clear and let us not forget although they were killed,
we die for freedom
we die for Christ sake.
we die for God sake.
When that boy put his knee on that man’s neck
Jesus showed up and took the place of the man
And Jesus said to the boy
You don’t want to do this, find yourself, find your religion
And rise up!
And the boy refused to rise.
Jesus said, I have died for your sins and the sins of your brother at no charge and so there is no sin here
Not in the counter fit bill
Not in the 911 call
Not in the police training manual
Not in the city’s history
There is no sin here, YET.
You have been given the power
Your sin is forgiven
Let it go.
But the boy squeezed his sin and held on to it more tightly
And the boy didn’t listen to Jesus
Jesus begged, beseeched and begot, please, please, please, please
And the boy did not listen.
The boy would not turn away from his sin
The boy would not repent
The boy would not believe
He kept so busy showing off to show his people that he was a big man
Bragging, I can do whatever I want to do.
And Jesus asked him three times, do you love me
But the boy couldn’t answer because his momma didn’t put no religion in him
But he will answer to God.
And this is how we got here
Because of boys and girls who weren’t raised right
Who were taught to play church.
And pretend to be God
Trying to make all things all about me.
So Jesus, all day, every day, lifts his head to the heavens
Without moving his neck, that’s an amazing God
And he looks to his Father and he prays
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
And God showed up
And wiped away every tear
And took up every fragment of broken humanity
And every piece of lost community
And every drop of blood spilled
And every tear drop shed
And every ounce of fear prayed
I got you
Hold my mule and
Hold my peace
You are going to need it in this world
Keep your hand to the plow hold on
This is a hard row to hoe
So hold on
You may be tied, but don’t you get weary
I go to prepare a place for you
So that where I am,
You might be.
And that is why Black folks follow Jesus from the womb to the tomb,
Just to be in this world like God wants to be in this world.
Jesus made Pentecost happen for the church so that the good folks
Could live in peace
Pray in peace
And rest in peace.
While it is tempting to hold the mule of Jesus and get in and fight for
Community policing that is not about how many people can you lock up and when can you kill them.
Community policing should be, if someone would tell the truth, rooted in understanding that we need help being community because one of us wants to be superior.
One of us wants a gun for hunting human beings
And one of us wants a gun for protection from the hunters.
It is tempting to get into the fight where laws are being written, lines are being drawn and health care is being practiced so that the right people die.
And we can watch the murder and either be entertained or be terrorized.
This is the world that Jesus had to come to
This is the humanity he had to be born into
This is the death he had to suffer
This is the life he had to rise from,
From the life of the dead.
Jesus, knowing all things,
Gave this dying world of murderers a church
In order to give the people who are wrong
A chance to rise up and live the life of the living.
Let’s be clear on what God knew in the beginning
Whenever you see Black people aborted
Whenever you see Black people enslaved
Whenever you see Black people shot down
In the street, in corporate America, in the White House, the Congress,
In court or in church
You are seeing why God gave this dying world a church and set it on fire!
Pentecost is saying to the church
If you white you are alright
If you are brown stick around
And if you are black get back
Because that is not what Jesus said.
What Jesus said was
“Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
And do this in remembrance of me.
Give up the fear in order to not give up that power.
Give up the fear, embrace the power.
That’s the message of Pentecost
50 days after Easter in the pandemic of 2020
Trust and believe
God is not dead
And God is not done.
And he is sending His fire to the earth, by ways and means of his church
To get people off the necks
Off the backs
Off the toes
And off the last good nerve of Black folks
He came as a little Jewish boy
But he rises from the dead like a Black man
That is the faith that gives hope to the world.
Keep remembering that the only reason Jesus came to earth was because innocent people were being killed.
Keep remember Church we have seen this before and we know how this ends.
Some of us in heaven and some of us in hell
We always have to thank God for the ones who made it
And pray for the ones whose suffering will never end
Because they choose to love hate instead of loving God.
They choose to cling to the ideal of self instead of clinging to the old rugged cross. Their suffering will never end.
Run this race on the straight and narrow and you will hear Jesus say
Good bye forever to those who insist on their right to sin
Well done to those who tried to love the other
And I tried to God the Father.
And once again, you will join your voice to the voice of those who can always say AMEN!