Friday, November 30, 2012

Gary Johnson's "Postcard" from Sudan - November 30, 2012

Here's the latest posting from CCC's Gary Johnson, on pilgrimage with a team from the DIocese of Missouri to Lui, Sudan. Please keep Gary and the rest of the mission team in your prayers and check back here and at

I woke up early and decided to stay up. So at 5:15am I walked outside and made my water bottle coffee which I've become very fond of due to the heat. Taster's Choice in little packets dumped into a water bottle, I put the lid back on shake and my coffee is ready.

I was the only one awake in the compound and got to hear Africa wake up. It was just turning light, the sunrise seems especially slow here don't know if has something to do with being so close to the equator. But the only noise I could hear were the crickets, around 5:30 a few rooster started but from a distance. We have four roosters in the compound but they were silent. The different sounds I could hear mesmerized me, sounds I had never heard before seemed to chime in as if each knew his or her turn to join in the morning chorus. Sounds I had never heard before were beautiful and it's so quiet I love waking up to Africa.

We had a great dish for supper last night it's spaghetti noodles that they boil and when just about done they drain off the water and sprinkle powered milk and cane sugar on them. We also had chicken. Breakfast this morning consisted of greens, our dough-balls and tomato and onions and left over noodles from last night which was still good.

The ten guys in our carpentry class have almost finished their first project. They're very quick leaners. We normally stop around 3:30 but they wanted to keep working we worked until 5:45. Love working with them. They were so proud of their accomplishments today and to actually hold onto something that they had built with their own hands. Each one signed his name to the bottom of the table.

Love being here and the people are incredibly friendly.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gary Johnson's "Postcard" from Sudan - November 29, 2012

Here's the latest posting from CCC's Gary Johnson, on pilgrimage with a team from the DIocese of Missouri to Lui, Sudan. Please keep Gary and the rest of the mission team in your prayers and check back here and at

We get very limited WiFI time so here is a letter that I sent to Linda today . We are 9 hours ahead of you o right now it's the 29th. 8:51pm. Lui South Sudan

The morning starts around 6:00am, my room is near where the meals are prepared. Every morning the women start out by sweeping the compound with homemade brooms. Which when your windows are open you start counting their sweep patterns, 1-2-3 pause 1-2-3- pause It's dirt around the rooms with a little grass here and there, very dusty. What grass they have is maintained by cutting it with a L shape machete.

Breakfast is normally homemade biscuits from the night before along with fried dough-balls. I dip them in my coffee then into pure cane sugar. Manedazeti is what they call the dough-balls it has help my sweet tooth since the market doesn't carry any candy bars. The coffee packs are a big hit. I started taking my bottled water and pouring in the instant coffee, put the lid back on and shake. Actually is pretty good when you add a little of their pure cane sugar that they make.

Today we had the best lunch of any meal since I've been here. We had lambbuger crumbled up. Think hamburger helper but with Lamb over biscuits along with a great sauce and fried potato slices. Supper is almost always rice with chicken, beef, or beans with greens that are very close to our spinach.

Dan still hasn't gotten back with our supplies but should be in tonight. Went ahead with our first class today and had ten men. Very limited carpentry skills when it comes to working with wood. Most live in mud huts with thatched roofs. One of the reasons we're teaching carpentry skills is in the last monsoon that lasted several days they lost hundreds of huts. Mostly due to the thatch becoming water logged that the walls cant support the weight causing the walls to collapse. They're going to metal roofs which handle the water, but need the carpentry skills to do the trusses/rafters to support the weight of the new roofs.

The guys are very eager to learn and are quick learners. Started cutting pieces for our first project having them measure and do their own cutting. We borrowed a saw and hammer from a neighbor who makes custom furniture, bed, benches, desk etc. they took turns using the saw. It tuned out to be a very good day. The guy who makes the furniture charges $40.00 USD. for a solid Mahogany bench that is very well built using mortise and tenoned joints. A Mahogany bed hand carved with a footboard & Headboard will run $100.00 USD.

Have a great day, you are loved and missed. I Think about you every-time I see something I wish I could share with you. You would have loved all the kids at the school. They walk right by the compound in the mornings and evenings singing songs.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The joy of being known overcoming the fear of being known

A sermon preached by the Very Rev. Mike Kinman at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, November 18, 2012

As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!" Then Jesus asked him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.

God is here.

Last month, John Kilgore and I hosted six different lunchtime tours and creative conversations here at Christ Church Cathedral for downtown and civic leaders. And each time, we started out by taking people up into the bell tower to that first level where the ropes are and giving them a chance to ring the bells.

We've got three bells in that bell tower. After the service, anybody who wants, I’ll take you up there and you can ring them, too. One of them is the largest bell in the state of Missouri, it weighs nearly three tons and its a replica of a bell that was cast for the 1904 World's Fair. The coolest thing is watching the children of our Cathedral family ring it because the rope literally lifts them up into the air. Does it to some of the adults, too.

We started with the bells because it was fun but also because a Cathedral's bells are one of its most distinctive features. For as long as there have been these beautiful Gothic buildings, the bells have rung out. Often they were the sound that carried the furthest of any other sound, reaching people for miles around.

When members of this congregation climb those steps and ring those bells, we are continuing a tradition that has gone on for hundreds and hundreds of years. It is a tradition of announcing to the world a presence. Of announcing that in the middle of all the activity, in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. In the middle of the tragedy and triumph. In the middle of silent suffering and wild jubilation. In the middle of labor and leisure, loving and fighting. In the middle of all these things and so much more ... that God is here.

God is here.

Not removed somewhere in the heavens watching us from a safe distance but right here, right here with us. God is here, with us, in the flesh. Immanuel.

The idea that God is present in the midst of the community didn't start with Jesus. In fact, in this morning's Gospel reading, the disciples are talking about it. They're looking at the great temple in Jerusalem. And really what the temple is is the building where they believe God lives. In the center of it, in the Holy of Holies is literally where God's presence in the Ark of the Covenant resides. The story our Jewish ancestors told is that Temple, that Ark was the presence of God, so much so that when the Temple was destroyed and the Ark was carried off they believed that God had actually departed from them.

And when you believe that, when you believe that God can be taken away, that God has been taken away before, it's hard not to live in fear that it might happen again.

So Jesus' words to his disciples ... when he said "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down." that must have been terrifing. After all, they loved that temple. As much as we love and treasure this Cathedral building, they loved that Temple as much and even more. But more than that, if the Temple was gone, that meant God was gone, too.

But Jesus wasn't saying it to scare them. He was saying it to reassure them. This Immanuel, this God-made-flesh in Jesus, is living, walking, talking, eating, breathing proof that things aren't going to be the way they were. That things are going to be different. And different can be scary, but it's going to be great. It's going to be new.

And God will be present.

For their whole existence, the disciples and their ancestors had thought of God being tied to a place. And that made God’s presence with them conditional. Because places come and go.Anything that can be built by human hands can be torn down by the same, and at some point usually is.

But if God is not in the temple, then where is God? Where is God present.

Look at the person next to you. I mean it, look them in the eyes. Now look at another person around you. In front or in back of you. Look them in the eyes. Now look all around you in this room. Look at all the different shapes and colors and ages and genders and orientations and theologies and political views and heights and weights and smells and facial expressions that are in this room.

That's where God is.

In Jesus, God is telling us something new. God is telling us to be very, very careful in investing in the monuments we build or the structures that can pass away – because where stones are put on stone they will be cast down. But instead God is inviting us to give ourselves to the presence of the living God that lives in this community. And a God who lives in community can never go away as long as we are committed to staying together and growing together as a community. As long as we are committed to being the Body of Christ.

Be what you see, receive who you are.

God’s dream isn’t for us to “go to church” ... to come to some grand monument where God resides. No, God’s dream is for us to come together in wonderful places like this to be the church, to feel God's presence in this place and to be God's presence in this place and out of this place … together.

We've been listening deeply as we’ve had our conversations about our shared, core values and as we’ve done stewardship differently this year. And as we’ve listened, some common themes have emerged in these conversations. And it is all about this being the church. It is all about us as a community.

So if this community is where God is present, what do we notice about this community? Well, we're noticing a whole bunch of different things over the past couple years.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Interrupting the Silence"

A sermon preached by the Rev. Traci Blackmon at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, October 28, 2012 

Is poverty what it used to be?

Or has poverty grown so shameful that we dare not speak its name?

The widow we encounter in Mark 12:38-44 provides a case study in poverty and oppression. Yet, unable to confront poverty, we have turned her into something safer – an example of generosity.

The story of the widow's mite is generally idealized as an example of Christian behavior for those who are poor.

Those who are poor are expected, if they wish to be considered faithful… to give to the church – even if it means they go without.

Those of us who cling to our middle-class status are more likely to go to church than are the truly poor… so we allow ourselves to imagine poor people as being somehow different from ourselves…or we dress in the garb of the widow and feign generosity.

To read the Bible from a position of power and privilege runs the risk of romanticizing the plight of the poor, even to the point of making the condition of those oppressed… models for the victims of racism, classism and sexism.

As a result… we need help recognizing poverty’s presence.

The election has just passed. And regardless of who you and I voted for…one factor we can all celebrate… is that it is over – OVER! (smile)

Thank God for that.

Regardless of which candidate we chose to support, it should be disturbing to us…as thinking people of faith … that in spite of poverty figures which show that more than one in seven Americans – 46.2 million people – live in poverty… more than 16 million children… neither presidential candidate could work up the courage to address poverty as a serious issue, at least not directly.

And neither seemed in the least bit apologetic that the presidential election of 2012 cost a reported $2.5 billion … perhaps the costliest in our history!

The topic of money – who has it, who doesn’t, and what people do to acquire it – is central to Jesus’ thinking in this morning’s text.

When we read this story from economic privilege, we ignore how the normative interpretation maintains societal power relationships detrimental to the poor.

But missing from this interpretation is how the widow's self-sacrifice is related to the self-indulgence of the religious leaders who profit from her religious commitment.

Mark’s Gospel goes out of its way to make clear that she is just as much a victim as a hero.

I do not wish to dismiss either interpretation or application of this text, but I do want to offer a different starting point which will move in a vastly different direction.

Reading the story of the widow's mite from the perspective of the poor… we discover that in Mark's account… the story of the widow's offering is immediately preceded by Jesus' outrage toward the religious leaders who devour the possessions of widows.

The key to this text is to keep it as a whole, instead of separating out verses 41-44 from 38-40. The widow’s contribution is contextualized – she is participating in a system that routinely oppresses her and does so alongside of the guise of piety (v.40).

In a profound way, she is acting with nobility and self-sacrifice and she is contributing toward an unjust system.

She is giving all that she has and she is abetting a system that will take away all that she has.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

God's justice, American Apartheid and an open invitation to a dancing, beloved community.

A sermon preached by the Very Rev. Mike Kinman at the closing worship for the Beloved Community Conference at St. John's United Church of Christ on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. I bring you greetings on behalf of the people of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. Like you we are a people of the city. We are a people committed to making this city one that makes glad God’s heart. Like you we are trying to hear the cries of our children and look forward to working more closely together to ease those cries and together to turn them to shouts of praise to our God.

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-rolling stream.”

Y’all know that one? Right?

You bet we know it. That’s the prophet Amos. And we know when we hear that what is going to come next is something good. We know when we hear a preacher quote that scripture, someone’s gonna open a can of something on someone. And it’s going to be good.

A few years ago, I was at a conference and the keynote speaker was Dr. Esther Mombo. Now Dr. Mombo is a formidable woman. She is a scholar and a leader. She was the first female president of a theological college in her native Kenya. She was a tireless worker for justice and equality not just in Kenya but in all of Eastern Africa.

And so when Dr. Esther Mombo began her talk by pulling out Amos. When Dr. Esther Mombo began her talk by saying “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-rolling stream.” Man, I was ready to roll. I was settling in thinking, this is going to be good. She’s gonna open a can of something on someone.

And then she paused. And then this is what she said.

“If I could eliminate one word from human language it would be the word ‘justice.’”


If she were a TV set, I would be going like this to make sure I got the reception right.

And she must have seen that look in our eyes because she said it again.

“If I could eliminate one word from human language it would be the word ‘justice,’ because when we say the word ‘justice,’ our necks stiffen and our ears close.”

Now … she had my attention.

“when we say the word ‘justice,’ our necks stiffen and our ears close.”

And then she explained that the problem with the word justice is we too easily confuse two things: God’s justice and our justice.

Our justice is the justice of “I don’t just want to win, I want you to lose.”

Our justice is the justice of “I have defeated you.”

God’s justice is all God’s children are brought into the light of God’s love.

God’s justice is all God’s children are brought into the faith of God.
God’s justice is all God’s children are saved by the blood of Christ.

Our justice is retribution.
God’s justice is restoration.

Our justice makes us feel powerful.
God’s justice makes us rejoice in God’s power.

Our justice is about believing we know best.
God’s justice is knowing God knows best.

God’s justice is following the words of Micah “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

God’s justice is remembering what God said to Isaiah, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”

God’s justice is remembering the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “I have made you ambassadors of Christ and given you the ministry of what? Of conquest? No. Of humilitation? No. Of demonization? No. The ministry of reconciliation.”

Now when your fine pastor the Rev. Starsky Wilson honored me and Christ Church Cathedral with the invitation to be the preacher this morning and sent me the information about this Beloved Community Conference and showed me the guiding scripture was Psalm 33:12, I turned to it in my Bible and I have to say I had the same experience I had when I heard Esther read that passage from Amos.

I read, “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.”

Yeah. I like the sound of that.

It makes me feel special.

It makes me feel that I am, that we are maybe more special than others.

It makes me feel that I am, that we are smiled on by God more than others.

It makes me feel like God maybe is on my side, and God stands against those I might see as not on my side.

I read that verse from Psalm 33 and I started feeling my neck stiffen and my ears close.

But then God did something.

God whispered in my ear. You know how when you want to get someone’s attention sometimes you don’t shout. When someone is shouting at us, it’s easy to tune them out. But when you really want to get someone’s attention, you whisper. That’s why God talks in that “still, small voice.”

So anyway, I’m feeling really happy about this psalm, feeling really happy about myself, about ourselves, … feeling my neck start to stiffen and my ears start to close. And then God says … very quietly.

Excuse me.
I wasn’t finished yet.

Oh, OK. So then I read on in psalm 33.

Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage. … but then the psalm continues…

The Lord looks down from heaven and sees all humankind.

From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth—

He who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes their deeds.

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.

Hmmmm… OK. I’m starting to feel a little differently now.

Maybe God wants something different.

Maybe God wants to not just save my soul but to use me to save others’ souls.

Maybe God wants me not to get so confident in my own intellect, in the rightness of my cause, in the strength of my argument in my great army or my war horse.

Maybe God wants me to turn my life over to Jesus Christ, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

Maybe God wants me to be an ambassador of Christ, an ambassador of reconciliation, an agent of conversion, even as I am still being converted.

In the winter of 1964, Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island in South Africa where he would spend 18 of his 27 prison years. Confined to a small cell, the floor his bed, a bucket for a toilet, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes. He could write and receive one letter every six months.

But he got together with his fellow prisoners and started a school. A school without books or pens or paper. A school where each taught the others everything they knew about anything. One day one of the guards asked if he could join in. And even though his fellow inmates objected, Mandela stood his ground and said they absolutely had to let him become a part of their community. Because the road to salvation for South Africa was not treating one another as the enemies they were, but looking forward to the day when they would be friends … and treating each other that way now in anticipation of that day.

It is because of that conviction. That conviction that we have no enemies but just future friends, that Nelson Mandela was able to lead a nearly bloodless revolution that no one in the world thought possible. It was that conviction that led to the scene on his inauguration as president of South Africa where his prison guards were led, not away in chains as defeated prisoners, but to seats of honor as friends on the platform next to him.

Now what Nelson Mandela was about wasn’t some weak, “can’t we all just get along.” And neither are we.

This is join us at the foot of the cross.

Join us as we fashion a world where there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

Join us not in a world of tolerance. Our God is not a God of tolerance. You know what tolerance is? Tolerance is you stay over there and I’ll stay over here and we will “tolerate” each other … not bug each other. A God who loved us so much that God had to become human in Jesus Christ to live among us is not a God of tolerance and did not die on the cross to bring into being a kingdom of tolerance. Jesus is about join us in a world of the beloved community that reaches to the end of the earth. A beloved community where our salvation is intimately wrapped up in each other not just in here. And not just out in the streets of St. Louis. But in Clayton and Ladue. Webster Groves and Kirkwood. Creve Couer and Chesterfield. Urban, suburban and rural. Red states and blue states.

What Nelson Mandela was about and what we are about is not weak capitulation but bold action. But it is bold action motivated by love, not by hate.

It is bold action. But it is action motivated by a deep desire to have God change the
hearts of our sisters and brothers even as our own hearts are being changed by God and even by them.

It is bold action, but it is action that seeks not to defeat the enemies of God’s justice, but to appeal to the conscience of those who worship at the altar of self instead of the altar of God.

It is bold action, but it is action that means we must all take the logs out of our own eyes before we point out the speck in our sisters’ and brothers’ eyes. Bold action that calls us with Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King and Gandhi and Desmond Tutu and Jesus Christ to be disciplined soldiers of nonviolence.

And so we must invite God boldly to act on our hearts, to purify them.

We must boldly challenge the idolatry of this culture, our worship of capitalism and consumption, and allow our own participation in it to be challenged.

Now in South Africa, the context where the questions of God’s justice were asked was Apartheid. So what is the context here? In 2013? In America? In St. Louis?

Well, my sisters and brothers, I believe it is still Apartheid. Because Apartheid is saying that you take the abundance that the land provides, and that this many people (tiny) gets’ this much of it (big) and that this many people (big) gets this much of it (tiny).

The context of our American society is Apartheid.

It’s Apartheid when the unemployment rate for White America is 7.2% and the unemployment rates for Black America is 14.1%

It’s Apartheid when Black America is just 12 percent of our nation’s population but makes up 44 percent of our prison population

It’s Apartheid when the child poverty rate for White America is 12 percent, but for black America it is 39 percent.

It’s Apartheid when the life expectancy for Black America is nearly five years shorter than the life expectancy for White America

So the context we are in is American Apartheid.

It is an America of gated communities and section 8 housing.

It is an America of St. Louis City and St. Louis County

It is an America of north of Delmar and South of Delmar

Now this conference is called “Justice and Jesus.” So do we think Jesus has something to say about this? Do we think Jesus has something to say about justice? Do we think Jesus had something to say about Apartheid in South Africa? Do we think Jesus has something to say about Apartheid in St. Louis?

He has a lot to say.

He has more to say about it than just about anything else.

He has something to say about a land like ours that produces abundantly.

In fact, he has a story to tell. It’s a story he tells in the 12th chapter of Luke.

Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ->->->->

But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

Hmmmm … Does that sound familiar?

Building bigger houses to store our stuff and then saying, “I got mine!”

You see any barns around us today?

I do.

We have barns full of income.
We have barns full of health care.
We have barns full of public safety
We have barns full of education
We have barns full of civil rights.

And what does Jesus say to the builders of those barns?

He says “This very night your soul is being demanded of you.”

Following Jesus means we don’t build up those barns, we tear them down.

We tear them down because income, health care, education, public safety, civil rights are not meant to be hoarded by the few, but are meant to be enjoyed by all of God’s children.

But we tear down those barns not just for the good of the masses, but out of love for the ones who built them. Because it is their very soul that is at stake. It is their very soul that is at stake. These barns are prisons that keep people from giving their lives to Christ, which is the greatest joy there is.

And before we start feeling too good about “us” being the ones tearing down the barns and “them” being the ones who build them up. Before our necks stiffen and ears close too much. Let’s remember Psalm 33 again. God looks at all humanity. And when God looks at all humanity, God sees 2 billion people that live on less than $2 a day.

When we talk about the 1% and the 99% and start pointing that finger, we need to remember that God looks down on all humanity and from that God’s eye view, we are the 1% and the rest of the world is the 99.

But that’s OK. That’s nothing to fear. Because this isn’t about human justice. It’s about God’s justice. This isn’t about us fearing God’s wrath, it’s about all of us needing God’s grace.

It ‘s about the whole world as the beloved community. No exceptions.

It’s about the whole world together tearing down barns and gathering at the foot of the cross.

It’s about us not believing in our own agendas but saying “come Holy Spirit and blow and burn and shape this world into your image … starting with us … starting with me.”

It’s about claiming that we are a people not gathered in fear in some upper room with Jesus, but profoundly changed by Jesus and sent into the world.

And we are a people sent, right? You know that we’re a people sent, right?
You know the Great Commission, right? Matthew 28. You’ve heard that before.

The resurrected Christ is with the 11 on the mountain in Galilee. The wind is whipping around. When the disciples saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. And then a hush fell over them as they waited for Jesus to speak, And Jesus said :

“Some authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. If you feel like it, go to some places where you are comfortable and share some things about me that nobody will find too offensive, baptizing them in a life that is pretty much like what they are in right now, and telling them to obey some of what I have commanded. And remember, I will check back in on you from time to time.”

That’s the Great Commission, right?

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I get that wrong?

If you look at the church today, you’d think that’s what he said.

Did he say something different? Let me check my Bible.

Well what do you know, that’s not what Jesus said. Here is what Jesus said.

He said ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

We are commissioned with the power and authority of Christ and sent to change hearts even as we are walking humbly with our God asking God to change ours.

We are commissioned with the power and authority of Christ to go and make disciples of Jesus together to grow this beloved community to the ends of the earth.

We are commissioned with the power and authority of Christ to tear down barns, knowing some of them have been built by our own hands.

We are commissioned with the power and authority of no one less than the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords not to be agents of our own justice but missionaries of God’s justice and love.

The justice of a God who yes loves Barack Obama but also loves Mitt Romney.

Who loves Claire McCaskill but also loves Todd Akin.

Who loves Angela Davis and Al Sharpton but also loves Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity.

Who loves all of them and all of us so much that God dreams nothing less than a banquet where we are all seated together and there is enough food for all. And if it seems like a long way from that as we sit in the middle of our American Apartheid, just remember how far we as humanity have come before.

In the darkest days of South Africa’s Apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was scheduled to be a part of a political rally at St. George’s Cathedral in Capetown. The rally had been canceled by the government, so Archbishop Tutu said, "Okay, we’re just going to have church then." And church he had.

They gathered together in that Cathedral just like we are gathered this morning. Only in that Cathedral, the police were massing by the hundreds on the outside and they were there to intimidate, to threaten, to try and frighten all the worshipers.

You could feel the tension in that place. The police were so bold and arrogant they even came into that Cathedral and stood along the walls. They were writing down and tape recording every thing that Archbishop Tutu said. But he stood there to preach.

And he stood up, a little man with long, flowing robes, and he said, "This system of apartheid cannot endure because it is evil." That’s a wonderful thing to say, but very few people on the planet believed that statement at that point in time. But that didn't matter because he believed it. And the people in that church believed it. Then he pointed his finger at those police standing along the walls of his sanctuary and said, "You are powerful. You are very powerful, but you are not gods and I serve a God who cannot be mocked."

Then he flashed that wonderful Desmond Tutu smile and said, "So, since you’ve already lost, since you’ve already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side"

And at that the congregation erupted. They began dancing in the church. They danced out into the streets and the police moved back because they didn’t expect dancing worshipers.”

When the people of God start to dance, there is no power on heaven or earth that can stop us.

So we are here to say with Dr. King, with Nelson Mandela, with Mahatma Gandhi, with Desmond Tutu and in the name of Jesus Christ that "this system of American Apartheid cannot endure because it is evil."

We are here to say to the people who benefit from it, who would defend it, who would even beat us down to protect it that “You are powerful. You are very powerful, but you are not gods and we serve a God who cannot be mocked."

But mostly, we are here to issue an invitation. We are here to go out into the streets, onto the internet, onto every place where people try to defend and protect and uphold this American Apartheid and say “"So, since you’ve already lost, since you’ve already lost, we invite you today to come and join the winning side"

So let us go. Go forth from this place. Go out into the streets.

Not with stiff necks and closed ears but with a humble heart and a passionate soul.

Go not to defeat and enemy but to love and convert a brother or sister.

Go not to start a war but to invite people into a dance.

Go to be and create the beloved community. A community that begins in our hearts and takes root in the streets. A beloved community not of our justice but God’s justice. A beloved community where Apartheid is a distant memory. A beloved community where all have enough and the music and dancing never, ever stops. AMEN.