Today we observe our first worship service of 2019. We thank the Lord for 2018, but stand on tiptoes of anticipation about all the wonderful possibilities God has in store. We continue our overall theme of Being the Voice of Justice for the Black Church in America. The work of promoting justice is a never-ending quest. In spite of the advances society has made, wage disparities remain a reality. The work of the Civil Rights movement provided voting rights and an end to Jim Crow segregation, but racism and prejudice are on the rise. Although the Black Lives Matter movement captured the attention of the national and international press, the murder of unarmed Blacks has not abated. Fighting for justice is not an option, it is a necessity. As we continue to witness a government shutdown because the President insists on a useless border wall, we cannot help but be reminded that the Christian tradition demands love and justice for all.
In the last few months, we have seen the spectacle of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings which touched the nerve of one of society’s too often unspoken injustices — abuse and violence toward women. During a recent Sunday altar prayer, we invited victims of abuse to bring their pain forward for prayer. After that response, we have heard from a number of abused women who shared stories of wounds from abuse that have never healed. For four nights in January, we will examine the roots of sexual violence from a Biblical perspective. Sexual abuse is not new; it is as old as the human family. As we begin a new year of putting justice into action, we will discuss ways churches can work to heal the heinous injustice of sexual abuse.