Over the past several months, I’ve tried to share with you the wisdom and knowledge of public health officers, epidemiologists, religious leaders, and medical professionals who are helping us modify our perspectives and actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so. Over the coming weeks, I’m also going to do the same with those who have similar wisdom and knowledge related to racism. Many of these voices will come from within our conference and denomination and some will come from our wider community. This first piece is from Pastor Jermell Witherspoon, pastor of Liberation UCC and Everett UCC and a member of the Pacific Northwest Conference Board.
“We are in mourning. The earth is in mourning. The trees are still in utter disgust and brutal torment, because they must forever wear the blood of black bodies—strange fruit, still a strange and bitter crop.
America has not only sinned, but is an active sinner. America, the ones for whom hell has enlarged itself, for its inheritance is no longer amongst the saints, but empire. Black bodies, pearls, now cast before them, the swine.
Actively, I am afraid. You hear less of our cries now and more of the earth’s, why? Because we, our bodies, have grown accustomed to what the earth could NEVER accept.
THIS IS THE STATEMENT. The very earth is on the side of the oppressed. The very earth remembers when everyone forgets.
REPENT, FOR THE KIN-DOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.
THIS IS THE STATEMENT. Repent or the earth will take vengeance for us.
Repent or the acts of REVELATIONS that we have ignored will indeed be the LAST OF THE OPPRESSOR’S DAYS!
Repent, the oppressors’ god seeks Genocide, our God seeks justice.
Repent, while there is time, we are the voices in the wilderness, demanding that the Word of our God go forth.
THIS IS THE STATEMENT, WE ARE THE STATEMENT, BLOOD IS THE STATEMENT, DEATH IS THE STATEMENT.
The season’s liturgical colors flood our churches. WHAT ARE THE LITURGICAL COLORS FOR THIS SEASON OF SLAUGHTER?
Come, even closer to the earth, place your ear to the ground, listen to its cry. We have very little tears left so WHITE PEOPLE, CRY WITH IT. Do not cry white tears of guilt, but human tears of grief. Cry for us, fight for us, yell for us, change the world, for us. This ask is not because we are not capable, WE ARE RESILIENT. This ask is because we are owed that!
In this hour, where everyone wants to put out a statement, THIS IS THE STATEMENT! The earth, the spirit, the universe is on our side, and if God be real, She will be our vindicator. My advice would be to get on the side of the spirit, for justice is coming like a rushing wind!
– Pastor Jermell Witherspoon”