*We will return to our series on energy, intelligence, imagination, and love on Thursday.
Years ago I was invited to preach at an ecumenical Martin Luther King Day worship service. Upon receiving the invitation, I thought who better to speak on the legacy of Dr. King than a super-privileged white dude who had Forrest Gumped his way through 34 years of living? I no longer have the sermon, I don’t remember what I said, and I’m guessing a good 87% of it was pretty cringey.
What to say has become more complex over the last few years. We can no longer cherry pick the feel-good statements Dr. King made, and ignore what he said about the urgency for change and the economic structures he believed prevented that change from occurring.
I’m not even sure if I should be writing or saying anything. Since the George Floyd murder, white people have been told that our “silence is compliance”, but also that we should stop talking and listen to voices of color. I’m not sure where I fit into the conversation, or if I even do. But even that I take as a learning opportunity. I know that my discomfort and struggle is just a glimpse into the struggle that people of color, women, and other marginalized populations have felt in trying have their voices heard. Just a tiny glimpse.
Sometimes in our worship service we’ll have a silent prayer of confession, a time where we can privately acknowledge our particular missteps to God. This is tricky if you’re the one leading that part of the service. If you don’t let it go long enough, people might think, “Well, Mr. Perfect up there doesn’t think he has anything to confess.” If you let it go too long, people might think, “What the HELL has he done?” Some people just silently count to 30. I have a prayer that I use.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the sins I have committed, those of which I am aware and those of which I am unware. And Lord, please make known to me all the sins which are hidden from me so that while I know will never be sinless, I might be less sinful, and someone on whom you would look and say, “This is my child, with whom I am well-pleased.” Amen.
For me right now, that’s what this journey is about. I know some of the mistakes that I’ve made, but I don’t know all of them. So whether I am writing, speaking, or listening, perhaps my goal should be to learn instead of teach, so the person I am tomorrow will be a little different than the person I am today.