The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool…if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of [humankind] and fire the souls of [people], imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. [All people] far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight.”
We at the Justice and Witness Council realize the difficult task placed upon our clergy to preach week in and week out in a time when we are, more than ever, called to be “the guide and critic of the state.” And we recognize the challenge to hear what the Holy Spirit may be saying through our clergy when emotions are high, fear is real and the culture is at odds with one another. And yet it is imperative that we find words to engage the Gospel and the Spirit in this time – that we open our hearts to what is being said.
We must listen to one another – and be in prayer together.
We invite clergy in this time to submit sermons that they feel speak to this moment through the lens of the Gospel. Have you had the experience that your call to preach carries with it new and prophetic weight? How have you expressed this from your pulpit – how have you stepped outside your comfort zone in ways consistent with the Gospel? How has the Spirit challenged you in this time?
Have you asked your congregation to pray for you as you seek to minister to them, “being zealous in maintaining both the truth of the Gospel and the peace of the church, speaking the truth in love?”
We will create a library of curated sermons so that together we can hear what others have said and perhaps be moved to speak. We invite pastors to submit sermons preached since the election that reflect this new time in our history – the call to be both prophetic and uncomfortable. We would like to gather sermons as resources for others who continue to seek words to offer to their congregations.
And for those of us listening, it is our job to hear. To be grateful for the profession of our ministers and their call to interpret and break open scripture for this time. It is not our job to agree – but to listen as best as we are able, to acknowledge our own discomfort with the challenge of God’s call and Jesus’ teachings in this time.
Please submit sermons to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Kelly A. Gallagher
Justice and Witness Council, staff
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