Thursday, May 6
In the scriptures, and especially among the prophets, we hear God call to his people to speak truth to power and to speak out against oppression. This was never an easy task for God’s people. Speaking out about God’s justice and mercy and freedom from oppression got many of the prophets in trouble.
Jesus’ first words in public ministry was to quote the 62nd chapter of the prophet Isaiah, a chapter that is a rallying cry to God’s vision of justice for all:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted
To proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Isaiah 62:1-, Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus proclaimed that in him, these words had been fulfilled. As he continued in his teaching and preaching about the Kingdom of God as a kingdom of justice and joy – he made many angry and feel threated.
Jesus was told to silence his followers, but he remarked – “Even if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:46)
Jesus’ enemies tried to silence him through death, but the power of God is stronger than death.
From the prophet Elijah we know that God can be found in the silence, but for Elijah the call of God in the silence was given as a way to lead him find the courage and will to speak up again. The silence of God gives life, whereas silencing others, usually leads to death – spiritual or otherwise.
Below is a poem shared today by Richard Rohr as part of his daily meditation. It is written by Felicia Murrell on silence, and draws our attention to the difference between God’s silence, and what happens when we are silent in the face of injustice, and people are silenced. It is a poem that contemplates the historical injustices of silence and silencing of African Americans.
This remains a contemporary issue, in our country and city as well. This coming Sunday, Esther Enyolu, the Executive Director of the WMRCC of Durham will be preaching to us and sharing from her research and work about anti-racism why we need to continue to pay attention to this, to speak out and to not be silent in the face of racism or allow others to be silenced.
This poem is a prayer and a call to action. May it move your hearts today.
If you’re silent,
you can hear the forest breathe,
the holy hush of the tree’s limb.
“Silence,” said Thomas Merton, “is God’s first language”:
the way it soaks into your skin,
blanketing you like the forest’s breath.
The cadence of the land at rest,
the body asleep,
the heart awake.
The deep rhythmic breathing of a mind slowed down,
an ocean still,
wet dew clinging to grass blade.
The sacred song trapped in a bird’s breast before its first chirp,
the still of night across a desert landscape
wrapped in a bone-aching chill
before the sun rises to scorch its parched earth.
The lusty gaze of onlookers staring at the negro on the lynching tree,
back and forth,
back and forth.
Hands up, don’t shoot!
Body thrumming with a heady sense of power.
Hands in pocket,
resting pose, knees embedded into a man’s neck.
I. Can’t. Breathe.
Racism breaks your heart, break our hearts for what breaks yours, O Lord. Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. In our community, we are many different people; we come from many different places, have many different cultures. Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.