Justice Generation Mini Sermon
On October 29th, 2016 I had the honor of hosting The Courage Conference, an event to empower abuse survivors, for the first time. On this day I preached the following 6-minute mini-sermon called Justice Generation. As I re-watched the sermon today I couldn't help but feel that this sermon was a sort being fulfilled in 2017. The sermon includes the line "me too" which I had no idea would become such a common phrase in 2017. And, surely justice is coming like a "rushing tide" as we see all of the major media outlets coving the long silenced voices of abuse survivors.
I don't say this to take credit for myself or my words, I felt God was asking me to preach this sermon and I know others have said very similar things. This isn't about me.
I post the sermon below in voice and in writing to encourage you that God is on the move as abuse is being uncovered daily. Don't be afraid. Keep speaking up! You are a part of the #JusticeGeneration and YOU are a part of the change.
I've taken the liberty of bolding phrases in the sermon that seem more relevant today.
Justice Generation Mini Sermon
Maybe this weekend is the first time it has sunken in for you, the weight of the abuse epidemic in our churches. Maybe you feel heavy and are questioning, questioning how things could have gotten so bad. What have we done wrong in these recent years to allow this atrocity to happen in our congregations?
At first, I too thought our world was getting much worse, much darker and more sinister. I felt as though these bad things happening was proof that the darkness could not be stopped, that the tide could not be turned. I feared there was nothing I could do in the face of such great suffering. I felt numb; there was so much pain and it was only getting worse.
And then I realized the truth:
The truth is, the world has always been bad. Since the fall of humankind, we have been enveloped with disaster, pain, abuse, and darkness.
Abuse of the vulnerable is a disease that has always been with us.
The reason things seem to be deepening in darkness is not because things are getting so much worse, but because the veil is being lifted. We are beginning to see things as they really are; as they really have been all along.
Instead of waiting days or weeks or months or years for precious little details from approved stories to slip through the filters of those in power, regular people are able to share their stories without the approval of the powers that exist, through the equal opportunity that comes through social media. And they are able to share these stories, not as one reporting on someone else’s story, but in all the rawness and passion of their own story, through easily shareable and videos.
Now that the ground has been leveled between the voices of the powerful and the vulnerable alike, (at least in the Western World), we are able to hear the cries that have been calling out for ages, which now rise to our ears in a way has never been experienced before in history.words, self-published
And through the wonder of social media, a voice can not only be heard around the world, but voices from all of the four corners of the earth can be connected for the first time in solidarity. Voices that say, “YES! Me too!”, and voices that say, “I had no idea that this was happening, what can I do to help stop this?!”
For the first time in history, we see the pain and the abuse in real time, with real faces, with real emotion and real detail, and we have the opportunity for real change.
And do you know what? I am extremely proud of this generation, of which you and I -all of us in this room area part- because, as we have seen the injustice, a standing revolution has begun. This revolution is just beginning, but already is sweeping across the globe. This generation is standing up and saying “no” to abuse and injustice. It is contagious and it is inspiring. And you and I, the Church, have the opportunity to be on the forefront of this rising.
We are not perfect, and sometimes in our passion over the overwhelming pain and rawness of abuse, we don’t respond perfectly or with the precision of peace and love that should be our theme. But we are rising.
This is the justice generation, and we are rising in COURAGE!
For a long time, we have been silently suffering, groaning under the weight of abuse and inflicted pain. We are captives of human trafficking, of systemic poverty, prisoners of domestic violence, misogyny, racism and phobias, silenced by establishments who refuse to hear our pain.
But hear this…
Change is coming and it is coming strong. Like a rushingtide it is sure, and it will flood every hidden place and seep into every darkened crevice of unseen oppression. Nothing in it’s path will escape from this swell of justice.
So, to the abused, the oppressed, and the suffering: You are NOT forgotten. Hold on!!! We’re coming for you! And our arms are open with love and healing. Take a deep breath and breath in the aroma of freedom.
To those who are inflicting the oppression, the abuse, and the silencing. Watch out, because we see you too, and Justice is coming.
And we know we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world.
And we charging forward with our spiritual armor, all of us, women and men, leading the charge together through the Power of the holy spirit, to break the chains of abuse, oppression, and darkness.
We are taking on the mantle of our mothers and fathers, the freedom fighters of their day, and charging forward in ways they were never able to touch.
We are shaking it up and breaking it down. The walls of shame and secrecy are beginning to crack. Inside the dark confines of oppression, light is being shed.
Look outyou oppressors, you who abuse and maline God’s image bearers.
This is the Justice Generation. We put our hands up and say, “No”. No to abuse, No to silencing, no to coverups, no to religiously-sanctioned discrimination. Not on our watch. Oh, no. Not on our watch.
We’ve felt first hand the effects of abuse and prejudice. We’ve heard the pains of our sisters and brothers crying out for basic human dignity.
And the sweet spirit of freedom is filtering in. We are wakingthose thought to be dead in their pain, and resurrecting them into life and healing.
We are the Justice Generation, and the banner we carry is love and peace.
This is the Justice Generation, and we will stand up in COURAGE!!!!