Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent



Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer play into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice



A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.

Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”

I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Against All Expectations



Sermon based on Matthew 14:13-21, in which we discover just how completely Jesus will defy our limited expectations where we are willing to work with him. There is a challenge here for us all.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Facing a Troubled Nation

In the wake of the violence and hatred erupting out of Charlottesville, Virginia, it is useful to remember these wise words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?Expediency ask the question, is it politic?Vanity asks the question, is it popular?But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

God calls us to love, love God, and love neighbors, all our neighbors. Actually, God commands. We are challenged to fulfill that call to the best of our ability. We stand with all those hate groups single out for harm, for terror, and worse. We call all those who have fallen away from God into the darkness hate creates to repent (turn their lives around and change) and to return to life and light and love and forgiveness. Nothing is impossible with God.
None of it is easy. Not one single writer in the Bible ever promised it would be. Jesus Christ showed us the ways of love and servant leadership come at a great price.
Pray for our divided nation. Work for justice. Labor for peace. Speak for truth. Do it to fulfill those two great commandments. Remember, blessed are the peacemakers. Be courageous.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nothing Too Wonderful for God


Sermon based on Genesis 18:1-15, focusing on hospitality, Abraham, Sarah, and God. Exploring closely how God's insistence on hospitality impacts upon all of us today during incredibly tense, inhospitable times. Includes current crises playing out in our community. Please watch, share, pray, and act.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Benefit of Being Righteous

A brief meditation on being a righteous person, which is a person who is in right relationship with God and with humanity (a pretty tall order when you think it through). 
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. ~Isaiah 32:16-17

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

American Baptists Have Always Taken Strong Stands on Justice Issues

In the attached article from The Christian Citizen, the American Baptist Home Mission Society stood against the evils of slavery during the American Civil War. They resolved for themselves and to President Abraham Lincoln:
Resolutions were adopted declaring the rebellion “a crime against civilization, humanity, freedom, and God,” recommending, “That we tender to the President of the United States and to those associated with him in the Government, the assurance of our entire confidence and our earnest sympathy with them in their efforts to maintain the integrity of the Republic; of our prayers for their success; of our readiness to sustain them by the sacrifice of property and life; and of our hearty assent to the policy of conquering disunion by the uprooting of slavery — its cause.”
To read more, see: https://medium.com/christian-citizen/american-baptist-home-mission-society-stood-with-abraham-lincoln-against-slavery-e2c03f2059c

To learn more about American Baptist Churches USA and our predecessors, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/what_we_believe/our-history/

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Living Between Expectation & Experience



Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to Lansdowne Baptist Church about how we may assist individuals who have been incarcerated and their families. It is an important and powerful message. He also has something to say to those who would dismiss prisoners as "bad people" who should be ignored. Please watch.

At the end of the sermon, Rev. Dr. Trulear invited individuals with family members in prison to come forward for a prayer. This was a powerful moment for everyone as ten people came forward. One person was in tears, feeling until that moment that she was suffering alone. That prayer is not recorded here as those people were not asked in advance if they cared to be filmed.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Angry Insulting Beware



Sermon based on Matthew 5:21-26, 33-37, discovering the "ground truth" behind these teachings. Curious? Just watch. Jesus is alway deep and profound.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sheep or Goats This Year, 2017



Sermon for New Year's Day 2017, based on Matthew 25:31-46, asking the question, will we be sheep or goats? What choice will we make in 2017. What does it mean to be sheep or goats?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandments. No matter the situation (even in a contentious election season), Christians are called to love God and neighbor. Doing so transforms the lives of those who attempt this very tall order and those who are on the receiving end of that love. Give it a try. Jesus challenges you to do so.

One small correction: reference to a "Roman Candle" should be a fountain. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Powerful Statement from American Baptist Home Mission Societies Following Shootings of July 4 Week

The American Baptist Home Mission Societies have issued a powerful statement in response to the fatal police shootings of two African American men during the July 4th week, followed by the fatal shooting of police officers. It is a tempered statement insisting on justice and change while acknowledging the fine work of many upstanding officers. Please read and consider prayerfully: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/end-police-killings-innocent-black-lives/

Some highlights: 
“O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!” Jeremiah 9:1
We face a national crisis in the United States of America as concerns increasing violence and the growing threat to innocent Black lives from America’s police.
Daily in America, Black citizens are slain by police officers who are publicly sworn to protect the citizenry. This national crisis is well documented from Baton Rouge, LA, to Falcon Heights, MN; from Waller County, TX, to Ferguson, MO; from Chicago, IL, to Savannah, GA; from Cleveland, OH, to Staten Island, NY; from the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam. However, time and again when police brutalize and murder Black people, they escape criminal prosecution.
To be clear, violent confrontations with law enforcement and vigilante killings are not a remedy, but a dangerous diversion from our righteous struggle for justice and peace. We reject and condemn assaults on police officers with the same conviction with which we condemn the killings of innocent civilians. As we grieve the loss of innocent civilians we also grieve the loss of dedicated police officers and pray for their families and loved ones.
America’s current practice following the slayings of Blacks by police is a blend of cultural pathology on the part of prosecutors combined with racist urban mythology that quickly evolves into sympathy for the police officers without regard for the unjust killings of Black lives. Such gives dangerous credence to the notion that police are daily under fire from Black Americans—which, despite recent events in Dallas is historically untrue–and that the police are therefore justified in using deadly force against Black lives in order to protect their own lives, even when the use of deadly force was not justified.
Next, as we express honor, respect and appreciation for police officers knowing that most are decent people, the time has come for law enforcement officers to publicly affirm that “Black lives matter” in view of the glaring incidents of excessive force and brutality against innocent Black citizens. In the midst of hostility there is a real need to regain public trust and cultivate mutual respect.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Must I Do Jesus



Sermon based on Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the good Samaritan. This sermon also dealt with the deaths of two African Americans at the hands of police officers, the subsequent killings of five officers at the hands of a sniper or snipers, and how Christians respond in light of Jesus' teachings.

Please follow this sermon up with the powerful statement from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/end-police-killings-innocent-black-lives/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One In Christ

Father's Day Sermon based on Galatians 3:23-29, dealing with the human barrier shattering that being a follower of Christ involves. In part, this sermon speaks out against the hatred and violence inflicted on various minorities, including the horrendous mass murder suffered by the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida's, Pulse nightclub.

For a statement from our denomination, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/powerful-statement-from-our.html

Friday, June 10, 2016

Give Judging Others a Rest

In this highly charged political season, let's follow some sound advice from Jesus and from theologian Henri Nouwen. Henri Nouwen writes in his devotional, Bread for the Journey,
Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our minds about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we only create more division. Jesus says it clearly, "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive." (Luke 6:36-37)
If you have to evaluate, classify, and label, I hope you are in one of the sciences. Otherwise, along with judging and condemning, don't do it, please! Be friendly, be open, be hopeful, and offer a helping hand instead. And forgive others who have not yet learned this lesson and walk a darker, more difficult path. Pray that they will find this better way to live, and soon!  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Helping Others to Rejoice

The people of God, particularly the most fortunate, have a moral responsibility to ensure that everyone is able to worship and rejoice. 
~Christine Roy Yoder

Monday, November 9, 2015

Have Mercy On Me



Based on Mark 10:46-52. Bartimaeus shows us it is not right to be quiet and passive when things go wrong for us or others. We are called to be bold, as you'll soon hear.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Putting Aside the Hateful Meme

I am growing increasingly disturbed with hateful "memes" abounding on social media of all sorts.  So many of those pithy pictures and quotes are designed to divide people. A great many memes essentially say, if you do not agree with me, you are subhuman. Making people into subhuman "others" is the first step toward violence against them. Before sending another hateful meme, we should all pause and ask ourselves, "Who do I know who is being unfairly tarred by the gross generalization here?" Ask, "Does this stand with or violate the two great commandments to love God and neighbor (everyone)?"

Let's all do what we can to stem the tide of divisive hatred leading to violence.

Thanks.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Celebrating Weakness



Sermon focusing on Paul's weakness and God's use of that weakness from 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. If you stick with it, toward the end is a call for Christians to come together against injustice, letting Jesus' love shine through us and God's strength use us.