September 23rd, 2018

This is a sermon preached by Rev. Aric Clark. Aric visited Southminster to discuss the work of the General Assembly that met this summer in St. Louis and to preach in worship.

There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war – at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
–Daniel Berrigan

Letter from a Birmingham Jail Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Never again can we afford to live with the narrow,
provincial “outside agitator” idea.
Anyone who lives inside the United States
can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Husayn Ibn Ali, 625-680 CE
Oh God! Surely you know that whatever we did was not a competition to gain worldly positions and not for the worthless physical attractions of the world. But to show the signs of religious ways and to remove corruption from your lands, so that the oppressed feel secured and act according to your traditions and rules.

Song of Hope Daisy Yamora, Nicaragua
One day the fields will be forever green
and the earth will be black, sweet and moist.
Our children will grow tall on her
and the children of our children.

And they will be as free as the trees
and the birds of the wilderness.

Each morning they will awake in the joy of having life
And will know that the earth was reconquered for them.
One day..

Today we plough the parched field
but each furrow is soaked with blood.

I Am Determined Hafiz
One regret, dear world,
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that
I did not kiss you enough.

Humility (from Two Shaker Canons) Ron Jeffers Chancel Choir
I will bow and be simple,
I will bow and be free,
I will bow and be humble,
Yea bow like the willow tree.

I will bow this is the token,
I will wear the easy yoke;
I will bow and be broken,
Yea I’ll fall upon the rock.
-Traditional Shaker

READING Acts 16:16-40
One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

When morning came, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” And the jailer reported the message to Paul, saying, “The magistrates sent word to let you go; therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul replied, “They have beaten us in public, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they going to discharge us in secret? Certainly not! Let them come and take us out themselves.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens; so they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. After leaving the prison they went to Lydia’s home; and when they had seen and encouraged the brothers and sisters there, they departed.