Remember that Royal Wedding sermon Right Royal Preaching
Well now we have a new one. Another African-American preacher has been in the headlines this week because of a sermon given at a great public occasion. Rev. Jasper W. Williams has found himself in hot water because of his eulogy at the funeral of Aretha Franklin. Given the reports about it, I thought I would listen to it…and what a surprise – it was nothing like it was reported in the mainstream media.
This as a six-hour service so a 40 minute sermon was probably not too excessive. The complaints were that it was basically not a eulogy and the controversial things he said about the Black community. Not every one was offended and many thought it was an appropriate and challenging word.
I will say this – it was certainly different and an insight into a culture that I don’t really know – being neither American or Black.
Personally I thought it was great. Aretha knew him well and when she asked him to preach her funeral sermon I suspect she knew what she would be getting. He did after all preach at her fathers funeral. I got the impression he knew the family well and his praise of her as the Queen of Soul and civil rights activist was fitting.
I suspect it was the other stuff that got some people riled. He spoke theology. He spoke of creation, God and asked questions such as “What about your relationship with God?”. He declared that what matters is whether or not your soul has been saved. It was vastly different from Bishop Curry’s meaningless ‘love, love, love’ froth.
His challenge to Black America was powerful.
Black America has lost its soul…the one thing that black America needs is to come back to God. Something must be done…done…done…
We lost our soul when we integrated….as I look at your house there are no fathers in the home. A black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man. Black man where is your soul? The KKK killed over 3000 people over an 86 year span – but black people kill that number every six months.
Do black lives matter? No – they do not matter. They will not matter. Should not matter. Must not matter. Until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing black people.
Whacked up high, drunk, crack…where is your soul? Divorce…the scars on our children. Where is your God? What will the Queens legacy be?
As a race we don’t need better houses….we need homes….we don’t need better houses given to us we need to make for ourselves better homes.
The school teacher, pastor, police can’t handle our children. Whatever way the home goes thats the way the world goes….
Give a little respect..
It was powerful and challenging stuff…and I loved it. It was revolutionary and counter cultural. It was a million times better than Curry’s meaningless pseudo spiritual waffle, the sermon that pandered to the shibboleths of our culture and yet was regarded as a great evangelical sermon by some evangelicals.
And yet…Jasper Williams sermon was not a Gospel sermon. It was moralistic and political. As an address to the Black community in honour of Aretha it was excellent. But there was something missing. Perhaps it did lack in personal eulogy -but given there was much of that in the rest of the six-hour service that is understandable and forgivable. There was however little of Christ and his Word and that is what was needed most of all. There is a balm in Gilead. A great opportunity was missed to point not only the Black community, but all of us, to the one who can save not only our souls but also our bodies.