This sermon was preached Sunday by Fr. Charlie Holt of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary ( the community adjacent to Sanford) FL. Fr. Charlie was present in the courtroom during much of the trial, and was and continues to be part of a group of local clergy who began meeting shortly after Trayvon was killed.
And a sermon from Canon Dan Webster at Religion News Service here.
Preaching on the Sunday morning after the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin verdict seemed daunting. It turned out not to be so. The worship bulletin was already printed. Hymns had been chosen. So were the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. It seemed perfectly served up for a guest preacher like me rewriting the sermon on the fly.
So much of what Jesus says makes no sense to us. He continually urges his followers to overlook rules, customs, even laws in order to be brother and sister to one another. He repeatedly uses outsiders — Samaritans, the man possessed by demons, the Roman centurion — to get his listeners to open their minds and hearts to people of difference.
One way to do that now, I urged, is to take the Episcopal Church’s “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other” anti-racism training. We may not have the “whites only” signs at drinking fountains, but racism in America is still very much alive. It’s just gone underground.
And that was the message from this visiting preacher. Jesus implores us to break down tribal walls if we are to find eternal life and the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Bishop Stacy Sauls asks 10 thus far unanswered questions about Martin’s death. some of those include:
The fourth right question: Why is it that reasonable doubt is so much more likely to benefit a white defendant than a black one?
The fifth right question: What possible purpose do “stand your ground” laws, such as the one Florida has and that came into play in this case, serve beyond encouraging avoidable violence, especially by the privileged?
The sixth right question: Why do we tolerate vigilantes, for is that not what neighborhood watch programs are, in affluent neighborhoods well served by the police?