“Black lives matter.” That’s how I started my sermon on July 10th, the Sunday after the withering week of the murder of two black men and five cops.
A few days later, Chad Chapman, our praise leader, sent an email attached with a screenshot of a Facebook comment on the sermon from the Kiser family. It was their second visit. Nervous, I scanned the subject line for a hint, and even considered ignoring it. I expected heat.
I wrestled with the sermon. From the first word, it wrote itself differently than I anticipated. My sentences are usually long with, I admit, haughty Latinates, vestiges from my seminary days. The sentences I typed were short, guttural and bare. Shorn of hesitating conditionals and conjunctions, the words felt naked, vulnerable and muscular. And I “heard” the opening sentence: “Black lives matter.” Even to the second I stood up to preach, I debated if that truth might be heard better if I worked up to it….