However, I need to post this one because it is an example of a few of things;
1. It proves that sermon writing is communal. At least four different preachers contributed in some way to this sermon.
2. This is one of those sermons that was difficult to write, and I know it was also difficult to hear. Perhaps reading it will be easier? I don't know.
3. Sometimes we need to be called out on how we've allowed the world to remain flawed.
A Sermon on Baptism and our Baptismal Family
We welcome you into the Lord's family, and into the mission we share.
These words are proclaimed during the sacrament of holy baptism,
specifically in the Lutheran church.
There are belief systems out there where baptism is contingent on getting all of the answers right, and checking off all of the boxes, to prove that you are worthy.
Here in the Lutheran church, baptism is instead about who you belong to.
You are baptized into the Lord's family,
and as with any family,
members are a part of one large continuous family that spans both time and geography.
But also much like with any family,
we are, in a way, responsible for our family members.
I was hesitant to preach this sermon.
I was hesitant because I'm worried about using the wrong words.
I was hesitant because I don't want to cause any backlash because I don't know everything.
I was hesitant because I didn't want to offend anyone.
But... here I am.
Because more than being comfortable, I believe in our communal baptismal calling to live in love amongst our neighbors because the truth is...
We have a problem.
We have a big problem.
And when I say "a problem"
I mean that on Friday
a rally in Charlottesville proved that in the year 2017, in the United States of America,
the Nazi party is a very real, and very present threat.
I mean that yesterday someone deliberately drove their vehicle into other human beings.
And when I say "a big problem"
I mean that we're destroying each other.
There's a war that's been around since we discovered our differences
and didn't know how to handle them.
A war fueled by hatred and fear of the unknown.
This is being done by members of our family.
It should not be news to anyone here that people who identify as Christians
have done some horrific things in the world,
sometimes while pointing to their faith as their motive for their actions.
Our privilege says that we can forget these things;
That we can write them off as history,
That we can write them off as "someone else."
However, our baptismal calling says that we must be wide awake to the things our brothers and sisters are doing.
We have a responsibility to call them out.
We have a responsibility to stand up to them.
We have a responsibility to publicly confess these horrific sins.
We don't get to excuse ourselves by claiming "Well, that's not the type of Christian I am."
Because people are able to learn for themselves what "Christian" means by watching the news,
Before we get the chance to explain it away.
This is why we need to be aware of our interactions with people around us.
Every little interaction.
From passing someone on the sidewalk to our mannerisms while driving...
Every word, every action teaches.
So as Christians, every word, every action has the potential to teach
community members to heal or hurt.
We must find ourselves on the healing side.
We need to publically confess where we went wrong to allow these horrific things to happen.
We need to ask God for forgiveness for our complacency.
We need to ask the Spirit to guide and empower us to make this right.
By the gifts of the Holy Spirit, two pastors came together to write a public confession* for us to use on this day.
At the end, if you publically confess these words to be true, join me in saying Amen.
A Litany Against White Supremacy
Gracious and loving God,
in the beginning, you created humanity and declared us very good.
We were made in Africa, came out of Agypt.
Our beginnings, all of our beginnings, are rooted in dark skin.
We are all siblings.
We are all related.
We are all your children.
Violence entered creation through Cain and Abel.
Born of jealousy, rooted in fear of scarcity,
brother turned against brother.
The soil soaked with blood, Cain asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
We proclaim: We are all siblings. We are all related. We are our brothers' keeper.
When your people cried out in slavery,
you heard them. You did not ignore their suffering.
You raised up leaders who would speak truth to power
and lead your people into freedom.
Let us hear your voice; grant us the courage to answer your call.
Guide us toward justice and freedom for all people.
We proclaim: We are all siblings. We are all related. We all deserve to be free.
Through the prophets you told us the worship you want is for us
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke.
Yet we continue to serve our own interest,
to oppress our workers, to crush our siblings by the neck because we are afraid.
Because they don't look like us, act like us, talk like us.
Yet they are us. And we are them.
We proclaim: We are all siblings. We are all related. We are not free unless all are free.
In great love you sent to us Jesus, your Son.
Bron in poverty, living under the rule of a foreign empire,
brown-skinned, dark haired, middle Eastern.
They called him Yeshua, your Son.
He welcomed the unwelcome, accepted the unacceptable-
The foreigners, the radicals, the illiterate, the poor,
the agents of empire and the ones who sought to overthrow it,
the men and women who were deemed unclean because of their maladies.
We proclaim: We are all siblings. We are all related. We are all disciples.
The faith of Christ spread from region to region, culture to culture.
You delight in the many voices, many languages, raised to you
You teach us that in Christ, "There is no Jew or Greek, there is no slave or free,
There is no male and female."
In Christ, we are all one.
Not in spite of our differences, but in them.
Black, brown, and white; female, non-binary, and male;
Citizen and immigrant,
in Christ we are all one.
We proclaim: We are all siblings. We are all related. We are all one in Christ.
Each week, we confess our sin to you and to one another.
We know that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We are captive to the sin of while supremacy,
which values some lives more than others,
which commits violence against those who are different.
We confess our complicity in this sin.
We humbly repent.
We ask for strength to face our sin,
to dismantle it,
and to be made anew.
We trust in your compassion and rely on your mercy
praying that you will give us your wisdom and guide us in your way of peace,
that you will renew us as you renew all of creation
in accordance with your will.
We ask this,
we pray this,
as your children, all siblings,
all beloved children of God,
Baptized into one family,
into one mission for the sake of Love.
*The original confession can be found here: https://pastorjenniferpreaching.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/a-litany-against-white-supremacy/
I adapted parts of it to fit our context/text/theme.