(This sermon was delivered to the First Congregational Church of Oakland on May 21, 2017. The Scripture was 1 Peter 3:13-22)
. . . I loved reading Peter’s message today.. In my head--I was calling this the Organizer Playbook. Or the Resister’s Playbook.
Peter starts us with a great question-- (“Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?) in other words--Who are you to (sit down, shut up, do nothing, be scared)???
And he warns us--(“But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed) Standing up for Justice is messy--who are you not do it? Plan for the most chaotic mess. . . because we are creating a Beloved Community.
He challenges us to “do it with gentleness and reverence”--there will be push back--people may challenge “the HOPE THAT IS IN YOU”--they might think that our belief in justice is CRAZY pants.
When I read this scripture for the first time--I thought of 2 words: “Holy Agitation”. In my line of work--I know that agitation is a loaded word. Some people are not sure that Agitation is a word that belongs in Church--which makes me think they are not reading the same Gospel that I am. Agitation is God’s way of calling us to GREATNESS.
In this reading, Peter has his “Mic Drop” moment: “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, then to suffer for doing evil.” What is the good here? Finding Justice on our streets--removing barriers from youth who are trying to get to school. What is evil here? Doing nothing. The enemy of an Justice is not the opposition--the enemy of the Justice is Ambivalence. . .