Moral Monday Sermon Preached in the Rotunda of the TN State House

Friends, it is truly an honor to be amongst a real grassroots movement of the people of Tennessee. We have not flown here in private jets, our driver has not made sure we made it here on time, none of us have important meeting with a senator as a major donor. The money of billionaires will never compete with the rumblings of the Spirit that has moved us here for compassion. We are here because we know a secret. It is a secret bigger than corporate interest, more than organized hatred of a president, more than economic interests, more than the fear of election cycles, more than the arrogance in power, more than the stacking of committees, and certainly more than any political party. We know the Spirit!

We are here to expose a lie perpetuated to foster fear and consolidate power. It is a lie dressed up in religious finery and swaddled in proof texts from our holy books. It is a lie that betrays the proclamation of good news, liberating news, and the unfolding of true salvation. We are here to expose a spiritual lie perpetuated in the name of our God. We ask repentance from those in our own faiths using hatred, fear, xenophobia, sexism, racism, exclusion of the stranger, and help others steal from the poor while calling their faith responsibility, calling it morality.

Most of all we expose the spiritual lie furthered by those who would demonize the poor as less worthy of healthcare and then run behind God for protection. They are preaching and living a lie! Today we stand with Peter on saying, “I now know that God shows no partiality!”

We are a people experiencing the Spirit moving in and amongst us. It is a Spirit that has a preferential option toward the poor, the alien, the outsider, the marginalized, the despised and the forgotten. We know that Spirit will not be placated this evening. It is that Spirit that completely accepts those our politicians have deemed the least of these. The Spirit declares them equals to emporer, president and senator.that Spirit knows no constitution, law or restriction to limit it’s power toward wholeness through mercy, love, grace, justice or peace. It knows nothing of limits to compassion, because our Spirit is truly free. 

This Spirit is well beyond corporations and billionaire’s influence in selling a cynical religion of a free market Jesus. Yet, this same Spirit knows it is not too late for those obstructing healthcare for the poor, vulnerable and desperate to repent from their sin. The Spirit truly cares if our neighbors, family, friends and coworkers have equal access to health and wholeness in our state. 

For us to even be here tonight is a miracle. The fact that Insure Tennessee has a second chance has shocked friends and so called enemies. Something greater is happening. We know something far more powerful than high paid consultants and lobbiests has been hidden from sight for far too long. It is that ultimate power rests far away from those who claim it to be theirs. Even if we lose a vote we have been witnesses to a far greater power growing and bringing salvation. 

The Spirit will not leave us or hard hearted politicians alone until our actions bend the trajectory of our histories toward justice. This is where our strength and resolution will come today and in the future. It is why we can agree with the old spiritual:

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around, turn me around, ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.  I’m gonna wait until my change comes.

Don’t let nobody turn you around, turn you around, don’t let nobody turn you around. Wait until your change comes.

I say I’m gonna hold out. Hold out, hold out. I say that I’m gonna hold out until our change comes. 

I promised the Lord that I would hold out, hold out. I promised the Lord that I would hold out. Wait until our change comes. 

Make no mistake, change will come!

Amen and amen.


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