By Wesley Morris
Day 19 of our Lenten Journey through Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech.
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western worlds, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led this nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a unified Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be considered.
By Wesley Morris (photo above), Union Theological Seminary
Dr. King, with compassionate and nonviolent reasoning, addresses his home country in this passage from “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. In his gathering, Dr. King goes beyond the self-interest of his nation and proclaims God’s love and justice to be inclusive of people the United States labeled enemies.
In the body of his renowned speech, Dr. King contends with a world divided, east and west, oppressed and oppressor, colonized and colonizer. He speaks from the position of a moral witness of people scattered time and time again, because they sought to be free. The history of resistance to domination by the people of Vietnam was endured, felt and embodied through the lived experience of gunfire, blood and sacrifice. Continue reading
A Prayer for Advent. Written by Wesley Morris
Our God – who moves in heaven – and Earth
We praise and bless your holy name
Author of night and day
Lead us beside and into the still Darkness.
Into the womb of advent, the place of preparation.
When the world condemns our effort to reveal the true life,
draw us near – one to another.
Whisper to us in our communion –
reminders that you are here.
In this season, we seek the gentle care of your instruction
To find your simple peace.
You are our best guide in these times.
Teach us to hold our concerns
With beloved speech and listening.
Our hearts, though tossed and turned, find refuge in your complete shadow.
Your word heals a multitude of harms.
Prepare our minds for what we do not know
Lead us beside and into the still Darkness
As you have taught,
Amen Continue reading
Sermon by Wesley Morris
November 27, 2016, St. James Presbyterian Church, New York
I still think about Charleston, SC and the Mother Emanuel Church. I still think about the dozens of black churches burned in the south during the following days and weeks and the slow movement of the federal government to deem the fires hate crimes.
I love my mother and father and they still go to bible study. The Pastor, other members and visitors join them seeking a good word and study to encourage them through the week. Some travel over thirty miles to make it there at 7:00PM, Raleigh, NC, every Wednesday. That good word over the years has added to the church, our refuge, our peace and those walls.
I saw two amazing black women Rev. Traci Blackmon and Bree Newsome share time and space yesterday at WGF. Their hug and exchange of words was a course in miracles itself. Cutting through Q and A’s to the grace that only they may know the height and depth of. I am grateful to have heard so many of the presenters and been in concert with the folks at Wild Goose this year. This was and is very important work, but this moment, this reunion of sorts is my lasting image of Christ’s love. Continue reading