So what advantages did you get from things that you are now ashamed of?

No, these are not the words from the latest journalistic piece asking you to examine your white privilege.

They are words from tomorrow’s Epistle, Romans 6:12-23.

Talk about timely. So often Scripture works that way, I have found.

I am preaching tomorrow and it will be about the words of Jesus in which he lays out the importance of welcoming the other.

See? Told you.

Below is a tortured section of a sermon I preached in 2016, shortly after the shooting of Philando Castille, an event that traumatized much of the city. It is a good prelude for what I’ll try to say tomorrow.

 I shop in Midway since I like the diversity there. The day after Philando Castile was shot, the air seemed more charged than usual. I was looking at some sweet corn at Cub when a black woman came to the counter near me. I was feeling so emotional and guilty about the shootings and I wanted to tell her …. Look, I am so sorry for what my race has done to yours…. but I didn’t dare, and so, keeping my eyes down I said, in a small voice, “I wonder if you keep corn in the refrigerator.”

Without looking at me, she said, “I don’t know. I think I’m going to cook mine up today. But it looks really nice.”

“Yes,” I said, “it does. Look nice.”

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“Yes. Thank you.”

Without a look at each other, even a glance, there was something so intense about that tiny connection on that terrible day that I still remember it. It was a kind of cautious hospitality extended, one to another.

And in such exchanges, I think, grace happens, as we step up to the tomb and help each other push back the stone.….

You’ll see me and the team in church—tomorrow…. Join us.


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