John Jasper, prominent slave preacher and founder of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, gave this sermon in 1878. The dialect representations are part of the 1882 publication. This sermon was one of his landmark sermons. It is celebrated as one of the more powerful sermons in the early foundation of the Black Church in the American context.
In this sermon in the book of Amos, Russ preaches that it is never safe to ignore the work of justice, and that the American church has compromised its witness by doing so. He addresses the Hebrew word for “oppressed” and the accusations of “Marxism” it attracts, and admonishes us to respond to God’s prophetic word with self-abasement instead of self-defense. “The God who is Love is furious when the royal dignity of His image-bearers is disregarded and offended.” There is no greater wound you can inflict on a person who is suffering an injustice than to say that God has nothing to say about it.
St. John Chrysostom
This homily was preached by St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople in 399 following the fall from grace of the Imperial consul-eunuch Eutropius who sought to eliminate the right of sanctuary. Fleeing a mob seeking his life, Eutropius ironically finds sanctuary in the cathedral. St. John Chrysostom preaches this rhetorically brilliant homily which stands as both a condemnation of hypocrisy and mobs. Ultimately, it is a call to render mercy and forgiveness.
Leaders from two divided groups met 50 years after their conflict. They issued this preface and introduction, emphasizing the way in which public professions of faith and peacemaking go hand in hand: for the Anabaptists to credibly speak to its well-known peace witness, it must reconcile its own history.
To rebuild the public realm, we must reform the police; to do that, we should turn to the policing principles first set out in 1829 by Robert Peel: the “police” are just members of the public “who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Pilgrim Marpeck, from “Men in Judgment and the Peasant Aristocracy,” 473-475, in The Writings of Pilgrim Marpeck (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1978). Pilgrim Marpeck joined the Anabaptists in Austria in 1528, in the region of Rattenberg and Triol, a region which had...
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “A Knock at Midnight” addresses the need for all Christians to align their hearts to the work of God. The message from this sermon left many Christians living in America asking themselves about the purpose of religion in their everyday lives.
Justin Ariel Bailey
What is freedom for? In this sermon, Bailey unpacks the “fuller dimension of freedom” that directus us toward fidelity to the God of justice, righteousness, and liberation: a restoration of our creational purpose. While the church has not always lived up to this vision (and sometimes, as Bailey reminds us, miserably failed), this is still the call that God gives us. God calls us, once again, as those who have been mercifully and graciously welcomed into salvation, to follow him as the one who sets himself against the oppressive powers of the day to liberate his people, to root out idolatry and injustice, to live lives dedicated to Christ, the Lord over all. Our freedom as Christians is “always the freedom to serve, the freedom to sacrifice, the freedom to put others beforeo ourselves, the freedom to speak up for our neighbors and to lay down our lives for our enemies.”
Bishop Robert Barron
So many of our democratic principles are grounded in deeply religious principles: equality, freedom, the dignity of the individual. To see violent people invading the space historically opened up to debate the best ways to further these principles for the citizenry was both disturbing and unnerving. We all must engage in a national examination of conscience.
In August 1934, the Bruderhof informed the German government that it would refuse to participate in a mandatory national plebiscite to affirm Hitler’s regime. The group was already under constant police surveillance and had been raided twice by the SS. In the community’s worship meeting the Sunday before the vote, its pastor Eberhard Arnold gave the following address on the relation of church and state.