Dear Faith Des Peres Community,
This Sunday I’m beginning a new sermon series about Moses. Moses is the single most important figure in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), and his life serves as the backdrop for much of the New Testament. Throughout history, his story has continued to speak to each generation. Today, it speaks to us again and reveals truth about us as human beings. In this series, we’ll learn about Moses and how his story intersects with ours through the sermon and personal testimonies. Yes, that’s right, personal testimonies. In a Presbyterian Church!
This Sunday we’ll hear from Tommy Epling and Jordan Harris, recent graduates of the Cultural Leadership Institute. They’ve been on a year-long transformational journey that has trained them to be change agents, social justice activists, and troublemakers of the best kind by recognizing and resolving issues of privilege and injustice through the lens of the African American and Jewish experience. Like Moses, they have been called to work for freedom for all.
Their testimonies couldn’t be more timely given the demonstrations of racial and religious hatred expressed by white nationalist, Neo-Nazi, and Ku Klux Klan groups in Charlottesville. Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA), wrote on August 14 in his statement about Charlottesville: “White supremacy will not be eradicated until faith leaders become willing to risk their very lives (professional and otherwise) for the sake of the gospel.” On Sunday, in my sermon, we’ll hear the story of two women who risked their lives to save Moses’ life because they feared God more than they feared Pharaoh. It’s a powerful story that compels us to ask ourselves: do we fear God enough to do the same, to risk our lives for the sake of the Gospel?
Friends, racism is real and so is our part in it, whether we want to hear that or not. But if we can’t acknowledge our sin in church and in front of each other, where else can we? I know the topic can be uncomfortable, it often is for me, but we must bear witness to the gospel message that “White supremacy and racism stand in stark, irreconcilable contradiction to God’s intention for humanity. This requires courage and a deep faith to speak truth in love.”
I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we try to do just that.