Sunday, October 5, 2014

Justice and the Symphony

Today's sermon title was "Finding Courage, William Ellery Channing" -looking at his life and several of the major controversies that required him to find courage (often quite slowly and grudgingly.)  One of my points was that even if he agreed with someone's core ideals, he would shut down completely if their methods were too extreme or chaotic for him.

Sunday morning I woke to this news story, and knew I needed to share it with the congregation. We do not have easy video access in the sanctuary, so my description had to suffice. Several videos are online- here's one.

Last night fifty people purchased tickets to the St. Louis Symphony’s performance of Brahms German Requiem. They put on nice clothes, and took their seats.

As the intermission was coming to an end, two of the people stood and started signing a Requiem to Michael Brown, the young unarmed black man shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri two months ago.

“Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all. Which side are you on, friend, which side are you on?”

Others in the group joined in the requiem, displayed banners, and joined in a chant – Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.  And then they peaceably dispersed, no need for ushers or arrests. Video of the event shows some of the audience and the orchestra applauding, others just watching.

“Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all. Which side are you on, friend, which side are you on?”

William Ellery Channing would have been appalled at this display and this disruption of ‘civilized things’, though let's remember, this happened during intermission, not while the orchestra was performing. But he agreed with the idea to his core—black lives matter. Justice for us all.

KenShuman reminds us - Becoming a peacemaker requires courage, intentionality, & perseverance.  If you decide to become a peacemaker you will have to fight for it in your own life.

Folks, our families, our church, and our world need us to be peacemakers. Let’s find and stay to our courage, and build that better world.  

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