I Will Not Keep Silent

best site to buy provigil online The Sunday Sermon – January 17, 2016 “Second Sunday after Epiphany” (MLK, Jr. Weekend)

buy provigil in uk Isaiah 62:1-4

conocer gente separada en sallent I Will Not Keep Silent,  Jenna Heery – Director of Youth Ministries

 

Prayer of Illumination:

Guide us, O God, by your Word, and Holy Spirit,

that in your light we may see light,

in your truth find freedom,

and in your will discover peace;

through Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Isaiah 62:1-4

Listen for a word from God:

1 Because I love Zion,

I will not keep still.

Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem,

I cannot remain silent.

I will not stop praying for her

until her righteousness shines like the dawn,

and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.

2 The nations will see your [vindication].

World leaders will be blinded by your glory.

And you will be given a new name

by the Lord’s own mouth. !

3 The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see —

a splendid crown in the hand of God. !

4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”

or “The Desolate Land.”

Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”

and “The Bride of God,”

for the Lord delights in you

and will claim you as his bride.

The Word of the Lord!

 

Introduction:

Story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Name Change

I want to begin by telling a story. On January 15, 1929, a baby boy was born who would

one day change the world. His name was Michael Jr., named after his father, though

everyone in his life just called him “Little Mike.” Little Mike grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, a

little black boy down in the segregated South. And you may never have heard his name

or known his story, until a moment came when he was 5 years old that would forever

change history.

As the story goes, Little Mike’s father, Michael Sr., was a Baptist minister, and he went

on a trip to see the Holy Land and to visit sacred sites in Europe. And while he was

there, he learned of a man who had inspired the reformation and revolutions, a man

who had stood up against the corruption of the church and the government in his day, a

man who had forever shaped how we would understand and worship God. So inspired,

when Michael Sr. came home he took a drastic step. He instantly changed his name

and the name of his son in honor of this man. So in that moment, little Michael Jr. was

renamed after this revolutionary reformer – Martin Luther. He probably did not grasp the

weight of his new name then, but for those who revere and love him today, he could be

none other than Martin Luther King Jr.

Our names are powerful. They can have deep meaning. My own name, Jenna, is pretty

fitting; it means “white or fair,” and I have to admit it – I may just be one of the palest

people I know! Anyone here know the story of your own name?

[open it up for responses]

Our names tell our story. In some way, they define us. They label us, even at our most

core level. Do you know that scientists have found that when we are sleeping our brains

keep listening for our name? That’s why you usually wake up more easily if someone

says your name rather than just shouting, “Hey you! Wake up!”1

This is why a re-naming is so transformative. A change of name signals a whole new

identity, a new relationship, a new chance for life in the world.2 We become a new

person. Little Mike becomes Martin Luther King Jr., the revolutionary.

We can see moments like this throughout the Bible. Abram becomes Abraham, “the

father of many.” Jacob becomes Israel, the “one who wrestles God.” Simon becomes

“Peter,” the “rock” of the church. Over and over we witness the power of renaming,

including in our own passage today.

 

1    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/09/17/your-brain-actually-makesdecisions-

while-you-sleep/

2   Walter Brueggemann 220.

 

With fiery passion the prophet Isaiah declares to the people of Jerusalem,

“Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”

or “The Desolate Land.”

Your new name shall be “The City of God’s Delight.”

It is an incredible moment. In this moment, Isaiah renames his people. He says,

Jerusalem, you are not Forsaken. You are not Desolate. You are the City of God’s

Delight.

Trouble in the Text:

To understand the sheer power of this moment, you have to know a little bit of the

history. You see, the Israelites have just spent years, generations even, held in captivity

in a foreign land. When their land was conquered, they were exiled far from their

homes, separated from their families, feeling utterly abandoned by God. For years, they

dreamed of Jerusalem. They hoped to go home, back to the Promised Land. And finally,

finally the Persian king, Cyrus, let them return. Yet, when they got back, after years of

hoping and longing for Jerusalem, the land of their dreams suddenly became a place of

nightmares. While they were gone, the temple was destroyed, their land was desolate,

the city was forsaken. Seeing this, others in the region made fun of the them for

worshiping their God. They challenged, why would they worship a God who had

abandoned them?! And they renamed this place, “The Forsaken City.”

Trouble in the World:

What names has the world called you? What names have you called yourself when you

are all alone? Names have the power to create, but they also have the power to destroy.

“Fat.”

“Ugly.”

“Stupid.”

“Broken.”

“Weak.”

“Worthless.”

“Failure.”

 

Some of us in our past may have had our names taken by others. By bullies turned into

taunts. By prison guards turned into numbers. Some have carried the label or warn a

sign that simply reads, “Homeless.” Some may have been diagnosed by a therapist

simply as “Bipolar” or “Depression, or by a doctor as, “Infertile” or “Cancer.” Or

sentenced by a judge as, “Felon.”

The world gives us these labels to bear. And they can use them to silence our voices,

write us off. Worse yet, the world uses these labels to divide us from one another – black

from white, rich from poor, male from female, slave from free.

Little Mike once looked out on a white world that called him “Black.” To them, he was

just another little black boy from Georgia.

Hope in the Text and in the World:

Yet, when the world gives us these names, or worse, when we begin to use these

names for ourselves, Isaiah declares, “Never again!” Never again will you be called the

Forsaken City! You are renamed. You are reclaimed. You are not forsaken, for you are

God’s Beloved child.

I would venture to guess that each of us in our own way has heard the world say that

we are no good, that we are failures, that we are unworthy.

But God says, You are my child, and I call you wondrous. I call you my greatest

creation. I call you beautiful. I call you loved.

Yes, Little Mike once looked out on a white world that called him “Black.” But, now

renamed as Martin Luther King he saw what he could be – a revolutionary, a prophet for

God. And as he looked out on those other boys and girls that the white world had

named “Black” and whom the white world had deemed unworthy, he saw the world for

what it could be. As he stood on his mountaintop and he dreamed his dream, he saw

God’s true name for them all – Equal. And with a prophet’s voice, he declared, “I will not

keep silent!.”

In the same way, if you remember, Isaiah sees this vision of a Forsaken City renamed

the City of God’s Delight, and he declares that he will do all he can to bring that city

about. In this passage, I can hear echoes of Martin Luther King’s dream, as our prophet

Isaiah stands and proclaims,

I. Will. Not. Keep. Silent.

Until love reigns, I will not be stilled. It will be impossible to make me be quiet. I will

pray without ceasing. I will talk and not stop talking. I will proclaim and not stop

proclaiming. I will preach and not stop preaching. I will shake the skies with my

voice. I will not cease. I will not rest, for the sake of this precious city God loves, and

I will keep this up until every nation and king can see that Jerusalem has been

vindicated and raised up to a place of glory and honor.

(inspired by Anathea Portier-Young)

Little Mike became Martin Luther King, and the whole world heard his voice. The white

world could not so simply just call him “Black” and write him off. And through him, we all

heard our true names from God, as we learned that we all are named Equal and Loved. !

Today you are renamed. Today you are called to be that prophet. As we celebrate King’s

life this week, claim your new name in Christ and stand in his legacy. Do not keep silent.

Do not rest. Do not stay still until all the world hears your voice.

 

Amen.