Last Thursday President Obama made a speech launching “My Brother’s Keeper,” a widespread effort by a coalition of philanthropic organizations with the purpose of “creating opportunity for boys and young men of color.” As you may recall, the media covered his speech by focusing chiefly on his personal remarks about growing up without a father, being angry, making bad choices, “getting high” … all of which he has talked about openly and that he wrote about in his 2004 book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Among many important things the president said in his 4,500-word speech that deserve our attention, he asked, “There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?” [Read more…]
[Preceding this sermon we heard Jonah 1 from the NRSV]
We heard Jonah, chapter one. Now let us hear the story of Jonah, through chapter three (of Jonah’s four chapters), in a 20th century context:
Sometime in the second half of 1940, after France surrendered to Germany on June 14th, the word of the Lord came to a Catholic priest in Paris, Jean-Baptiste-Marie,† saying, “Go at once to Berlin, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jean-Baptiste-Marie set out to flee to Buenos Aires from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Bordeaux and found a ship going to Buenos Aires; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Buenos Aires, away from the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. Then the men were afraid Jean-Baptiste-Marie brought the wrath of the Lord upon them because he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, so they cast him overboard and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they prayed to the Lord and made vows to the Lord. [Read more…]