Many would quote our beloved Uncle St. Francis who says, "Preach with your actions. When necessary, use words." Well, with all due respect, for a member of our Dominican church family it is absolutely necessary for us to use our words! Our words only have a power to them when they are connected to the Word, Jesus Christ. Yet, this power is not just a literary device which makes us feel good. Rather, this truth, His Word, affects the way we relate to the world and to Jesus Christ! You and I cannot separate Gospel truth from worldly truth. Therefore, for these next few weeks, I want to focus on those effects of preaching the Word upon our world today.
Outside room 306 at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, Rev. Jesse Jack5on gave one of the best speeches that I have heard in a very long time. On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Jackson used his words to both speak of the Gospel truths and advocate for an increase in racial equality. Since that speech, I have been asking myself, "How am I called to preach in a society filled with racial inequalities and tensions?"
Certain!)', I am not called to be a politician. Yet, preachers cannot ignore the fact that racial inequalities and tensions do exist. To do so would make the Gospel nothing more than a literary book with no efficacy or power over our lives! At the same time, the Church is both above the world and in the world and speaks to a Kingdom of God which has already been revealed to us but has not yet been fulfilled. So, again, how am I called to preach? Well, I need to preach on the Gospel's terms! Preachers must rely on His Word to inspire and lead us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. In this light from the Gospel, there is no room for racism, bigotry, nor ideology! There is only room for Jesus. To be in right relationship with him is to be an advocate for racial equality, peace, and justice for all. So, go out and preach to all nations using the power of His Word to change the world!
-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.