Juneteenth Sermon – Being Black

by Maurice Staley, Guest Contributor

We have reached a point of monumental pivotal-ness. We are a people who are able to celebrate some of… in spite of… despite of our most despicable of atrocities. We need not be ashamed, dismayed or dissuaded for BEING BLACK. BEING BLACK brings with it a myriad of insights, interactions, and inevitabilities. We’re strong because we were born against a tide, where even within we had to fight in order to reside. We’re strong because of all of the hate that we’ve received, we choose to not be reciprocal with our deeds.

Today is bigger than race, for it will take all races to deconstruct the system of racism. Today is a celebration of the last to become free, although they were delayed two and a half years, it’s been 155 for me. The struggle for one is a struggle for all, the murder of George Floyd was the final call. We have entered a fight that we may not see to its end, the assured-ness of our victory is what gives us strength to fight again. Let us move from protest, to power, to policy to ensure the effective change for people of color. This must be a charge led with our children’s, children’s, children in mind; thus wherein-lies the fortitude to realign laws, policies and procedures with the disenfranchised in mind.

We celebrate with God’s promises on our brow despite the distortion of the true story, we continually reflect His glory. The mistreatment of a certain group of people, is a mis-representation of the almighty God. His children that register at an innumerable amount are due justice, righteousness and equality. Today is about recognizing the toll to be paid as we move forth toward revolution.

We’re fighting for fundamental changes on the local, state and federal levels. For this fight to pack a punch, we must show up at the polls. Inclusivity is what we desire, no longer must we ask to be included, we must get involved. We have moved beyond this fight being merely between black and white, this fight is everybody against racism. We must be willing to have the uncomfortable conversations about capitalism, the son of racism. We must become historians of American and world history looking at the killing, raping and pillaging of all things Black.

While we celebrate today, let us keep our eyes on that brighter day of reconciled relationships, reconciled minds coupled with the miraculous innovations of reconciled plans. We’ve answered God’s call today to strive for perfection, purity and purposeful-ness He called His children to be. We’ve answered God’s call today to call out the sin that darkens minds, hardens hearts and pollutes the soul. We’ve answered God’s call today as we stand for justice, righteousness and love. We’ve answered God’s call today as we stand against all entities that oppress, snuffing out the opportunities for those not yet even born, the chance to do their best.

For those not yet comfortable with putting a name tag on the true plague of the world’s society called racism, I challenge you, to challenge yourself, asking yourself why have you not utilized that ministry given unto you called reconciliation. We are our brother’s keeper, we do love our neighbor as our-self.

I challenge you to ask yourself, who is your brother and why? I challenge you to ask yourself who is your neighbor and why? For, if you are a professed believer then surely you remember what God did for you, when your were deemed unworthy, unwilling and unaware. He sent His Son to die for you. Just as you may not know anyone or have experienced anything racist, just as you may not know about inequalities and injustices, so much so that it’s hard for you to believe they exist. He whom you call your Savior, Jesus Christ, knew no sin yet He died in your steed that you might be freed from its grip.

It’s time to get in the marketplace, get on the field and fight against an enemy that is real. I know only the Lord can change a heart, a mind and save a soul, I know that the world has already been saved, but we must work out our salvation. Faith without works is dead. Even though I said it’s bigger than race, that does not nullify the fact that it is because of race we celebrate today. Even though I said it’s bigger than race, it’s because of race, one group of people felt it was acceptable to enslave another.

Now we need those that are a part of the white race to recognize the privilege your race has afforded you and how the black race has been ostracized throughout history. As I close, I’d like to say I’m proud of BEING BLACK. BEING BLACK is an education in and of itself, I have come to know that if there is anything outside of my relationship with God I need to be, it is Black. I have to study who I am to understand why I am sometimes treated the way I am. I have to study who I am to fully understand why I’m sometimes perceived the way I am. BEING BLACK calls for me to study all those that were Black before me and the insights they gained.

In their attempts to demean, discourage and divide us, it only caused us to look within and find that guiding light, the light that loves, unites and edifies. BEING BLACK is just that, it’s not just who I am or even what society has arranged for me. BEING BLACK is an everlasting journey of simply trying to BE!

Maurice Staley

My name is Maurice Staley. I currently serve as the Pastor of Faith Bible Church (Mapleton) & House of Worship (Mankato). I work as Field Ambassador for the Fellowship of Christian athletes, while coach wide receivers at Gustavus. Lastly, I am currently the acting president for the NAACP Mankato Chapter (forming). I long to see all of mankind treated with equality despite any differences one might have. Thank you!

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