Sermon by The Rev. Aric Flemming Jr. MDiv "19, founder of the UNDRGRND Church, Oct. 11, 2020. Courtesy photo.

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usmam.org Memorial Church · The Rev. Aric B. Flemming, Jr. - Love ~ above the roadway to justice | Sunday Sermons


Good morning to the Memorial Church of usmam.org University. My surname is Aric B. Fleming Jr. And also it is together a pleasure to it is in speaking v you this morning. I very first want to acknowledge with utmost gratitude, the ancestors existing with us in this an extremely moment. To those in flesh and also those who have actually transitioned come realms beyond including my late father Aric Sr.

I say say thanks to you to my mother, father, family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, counterparts, constituents, everybody. Say thanks to you for your fervent prayers to mine underground church family members for being existing here with us today. Lastly, I want to say thanks to the familial partner of the Memorial Church at usmam.org and especially professor Stephanie Paulsell because that this marvelous invitation.

Our 2nd reading from john chapter 8, verse 1 through 11 is what i will review again for your hearing, simply to kind of situate us through some context because that the sermon the we"ll share this morning.

While Jesus went away to the mount of Olives early on in the morning, he come again come the temple. All the people involved him and also he satellite down and began to teach them. The scribes and also the Pharisees carried a mrs who had actually been captured in adultery and making her was standing before all of them, they stated to him, "Teacher, this mrs was caught in the an extremely act that committing adultery. Currently in the legislation of Moses commanded united state to stone such women. Now, what execute you say?"

They said this to test him so the they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bend down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they maintained questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin it is in the very first to throw a stone." and also once again, he bent down and wrote ~ above the ground. As soon as they heard it, they went far one by one, start with the elders and also Jesus was left alone through the woman standing prior to him.

Jesus straightened up and said come her, "Woman, where are they? has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." and also Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go her way. And from now on, carry out not sin again." The few moments that space ours come share, I"d love if you"ll interact my thoughts v this text on the subject, love top top the road to justice. Love on the road to justice.

An unjust legislation is no legislation at all. I"m certain we"ve every heard this before. It is a recurring adage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The warns united state of the trouble we ensue when we fail to ar the metrics of referee on others while actively working come excuse ourselves from the very same measurement. I"ll add to suggest that the worth of any kind of written law is non-existent if the translate is simply unjust.

But mine friends, the irony of any kind of written legislation embodied and implemented through a can be fried Court or our existing president, Donald J. Trump, the United states Congress, the American state and/or the regional police of any kind of jurisdiction is that the enactment of that legislation is often collection by the powerful to reinscribe a sense of security for themselves rather than securing justice for the many vulnerable. In simple terms as made evident in the decision of ours dear sisters Breonna Taylor"s case, when we feel like it, we have the right to surely change the metrics the judgment towards an end of salvation because that the offender and also conversely reflect the breakable as deserving that the violation to excuse oneself of the guilt.

Our sisters Zora Neale Hurston said at as soon as this way: “If you"re silent about your pain, they will kill you and then speak you delighted in it.” might I please render an example for her hearing? because that this text itself in the Gospel of man chapter 8, i beg your pardon the populace would call the administrate spiritual laws upon which this country was founded, this message in particular, this stare is not also original come the Greek manuscript of the brand-new Testament, however it"s rather interestingly redacted native an enhancement to the collective canon, a prime example of exactly how the most powerful the government religious and spiritual leaders of the state relate to the regulations they make and also how they apply what is composed versus what is inferred.

Therefore, the fact that i myself would pick to preach native this message this morning is irony in and also of itself. What"s even much more ironic is the the powerful in culture see themselves over the regulations they make and the implementation of those laws are reassurance the judgment could never be placed upon them since power constantly believes it is freed from judgment.

Hence the very reason they even dare to kill Jesus since he exposed the fragility that a created law and also juxtaposed it versus the authentic power of God when he dare to progressive Lazarus native the dead. Castle said, "Oh, certain he need to die now. God has provided him strength to defy the legislations as they room written."

The law that states no work must be excellent on the Sabbath, yet what walk one have to do come deserve penalty by death, possibly to take it life from an additional person, possibly to deplete the intrinsic worth of a person being till there is no humankind yet remaining. Probably to blaspheme the strength of God by crediting God"s strength to an enemy of God"s spirit, absolutely not by providing life come someone should you be placed to death.

Certainly not by impartation and sacrifice must someone be placed to death. Certainly not by the strength of living and also giving resurrection, need to someone be placed to death. And also yet all due to the fact that he raised someone come life versus the unavoidable phenomenon the death, the lawmakers stated he must die. It to be the straw that broke the ago of Jerusalem"s camel that from Nazareth to Golgatha"s hill, he dare to heal the sick there is no insurance because that himself, to feeding the hungry there is no a solitary food stamp, to open eyes and also ears come the truth around the oppressed and the oppressor. And he had the unmitigated gall to raise someone from the dead.

And yet we live in a world that would legalize the killing of the vulnerable and also elevate the mercy the the aggressor. A law thwarted for grace toward the killer, yet no justice for the victim. Therefore, once again, my friends, the significance of the legislation as we watch it is non-existent because the substantive enforcement or inference the that law is naturally predicated top top the needs of those that make them no the many vulnerable.

So I can imagine that might"ve been a mouthful, however I"ll lull your ear at this moment. This text, because that example, the Pharisees who I"ll colloquially label as “The Powerful,” brought a woman whom I"ll additionally identify together the “Most Vulnerable,” our credit transaction to our dear professor, Jonathan L. Walton. They brought her come the sanctuary for a sacred worship collection so they can easily collection up the communication to communicate the worship, ns mean, killing of her life to the public.

Sound familiar, doesn"t it? for in these days, Jesus warned united state that they would certainly murder and believe it was prayer unto God. Due to the fact that even in ours society, there are still sadistic obsessions through murdering black color flesh and also displaying that murder of black flesh together it was in the Antebellum South because it reinscribes the fundamental notion that it cannot take place to the an effective and furthermore, also more, once more, many times much more Black souls and also Black bodies room lynched and hanged by the nuisance of legislation enforcement in America there is no penalty and likewise, what we find even in this message is the the Pharisees earnestly desire to killing this woman.

And they want Jesus to take part in killing her. However our too ~ sister, Toni Morrison, currently an ancestor reminds us in she text, Beloved, the “in this below place, we flesh. Flesh that weeps laughs. Flesh that dances on bare feet and grass. Love it. Love that hard. Yonder they carry out not love her flesh.” You should love that yourself since even in ours society, the malice of white dominance embody a guilt complicated that neighboring nations have been aiding and massaging for centuries.

A practice of placing the vulnerable against the vulnerable. Because that if they are positioned against themselves even, the powerful will no be charged legally because that the killing they commit. And how countless times have we viewed this in our history, ours American history, a history of lynching and murders and rape and abuse, both literally and also figuratively taking life from world they walk not give it to without shame? Not since they wish to capture Jesus slipping for example, but due to the fact that they desire to usage Jesus come feed right into the sickness the undergirds the fragility that the an effective legally.

At this moment in our text, the Pharisees are so sick in their minds and in your hearts through wickedness, wrought v the malice of one unjust interpretation of the legislations they make. But so persuaded that lock were best that they carry this mrs to Jesus, providing a sacrifice, believing the it was praise unto their God, because they ultimately think that killing she would in turn kill him.

I know. I know what you"re wonder by now. I"ve unfortunately destroyed for you the fairy tales of this text. You will never have the ability to read this message the same method ever again. However I never gave you the actual factor that I"m preaching from this text. So you re welcome forgive me, mine friends. You space the Memorial Church. We have actually a background together. Ns love you. And I recognize you love me. It"s so exorbitant to be back here. Please, i beg of girlfriend to pardon me, yet I must give you the reason. So right here you go.

The reason that i am preaching from this text is due to the fact that there is an impending blessing in the irony the this message that is not initial to the Greek manuscript either. I am saying that the gospel did not finish with the initial Greek manuscript, but that God is still speaking and still able come speak even in this moment, if you will certainly be humbled sufficient to even hear the voice.

There is so much much more right currently in this moment that God has to say to us. Because that it to be the Psalmist who said, "It is he that has made us and also not us ourselves.” but still failing acknowledge their flaws, the Pharisees supplied their translate of the law and also juxtapose this woman"s vulnerability against it.

So the heart spoke come me and also instructed me come think about this text in this way. “To measure the value of my life up against the mrs in our text and to check out if I uncover reason still to conclude that the legislations I have actually placed ~ above her simply in condemning her and also excusing me.” for this reason Jesus writes through his finger ~ above the ground and also we tho don"t know what that was the Jesus actually wrote, if Jesus composed it all. But what"s even much more ironic around this message is the we"ve never heard the Jesus composing anything.

Yet, we check out a holy bible full that words that said and spoke. I believe Jesus likewise understood that the worth of any written regulation is non-existent if the translate is merely unjust. So just how do us make feeling of Jesus creating on the ground? I"m not certain that us can. Not sure that we can make substantive sense of this component of the stare if the narrative itself is under scrutiny and suspicion.

But we have actually heard of several of the things that he"s spoken. The spoke this words to the Pharisees, to complimentary the Pharisees as the rigid suggests, lest they die from Pharasitic supremacy. “Let him who is there is no sin actors the very first stone in ~ her.” and also the text continues to tell united state that they each drop their stones and left one by one native the eldest come the young.

Then this Jesus had actually the nerve while composing on the ground to ask her, "Does no one condemn you?" Responding with a subtle, "Neither execute I," also though the written regulation says they must kill she Jesus dared come heal her by speak the love she needed, not condemnation. "Neither perform I," the said. “I don"t have room to condemn friend because all of us space in require of a measure of grace and also forgiveness from our God.” and also that love spoken is what freed her. The love spoken is what liberated her. That truth spoken in love is what saved her because God was not simply speaking then, yet God is always speaking now.

Even beyond a law, we ought not store silent, however continue to speak the fact in love due to the fact that that is salvation in action. This is the gospel the Jesus Christ, indeed. And also once again, mother Morrison reminds us, no, castle ain"t in love with your mouth. What girlfriend scream from it, they execute not hear. They perform not love her mouth. You acquired to love it due to the fact that somebody demands to hear the gospel you preach. Somebody requirements to it is in reminded that salvation, liberation, freedom from bondage, abuse, struggle, and also pain does not come v the law, however love and also only love.

Later, we discover that together they drop their stones versus her, castle inevitably began recognizing their background of violence and also became conscious that the sickest human being in the synagogue were not actually the woman, however the most fragile personalities were in reality the Pharisees.

Now this woman is no much longer the victim, but she"s the conduit for releasing the Pharisees indigenous their own bondage as soon as she to be standing in require of liberty herself, such as the message suggests. Since the legislation is not collection to do what just love can do. If the work-related of justice is come be excellent in the earth beyond the law, love is the roadmap to the human being unimagined.

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So let united state hold quick to love ~ above the road to justice, though the roadway is windy. I think we will acquire there come the promised land. Us will acquire there undoubtedly if us hold quick to love. Let us pray.