July 11, 2016: Love is our only hope

Posted on : Jul 12th, 2016 | By | Category: Still Speaking

This week’s Still Speaking Devotional is written by Rev. Traci Blackmon. Traci is our Acting Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries with the national (General Synod) setting of our United Church of Christ. Before assuming that role, Traci was the pastor of a local church in a town adjacent to Ferguson, Missouri.

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on Aug. 9, 2014, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. The shooting prompted protests that roiled the area for weeks. On Nov. 24, 2014, the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that a grand jury decided not to indict Mr. Wilson. The announcement set off another wave of protests. In March of 2015, the Justice Department called on Ferguson to overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in constitutional violations.

In response to Michael Brown’s death and the deaths of many other African Americans, Traci and others began #Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this year I showed a video clip from Traci’s sermon at the Riverside Church in New York City. In that sermon she preached about “Why I Protest.” If you’d like to hear this portion of her sermon, click here: Why I Protest

Last Tuesday and Wednesday two more African American men were shot and killed by police, followed by the murder of 5 white police officers in Dallas, Texas by an enraged/outraged African American Veteran who served in the Afghanistan war.

More protests and more violence have followed, including multiple protests here in Los Angeles last evening.

In the midst of growing violence, Traci offers these thoughts and words.

BTW, Traci will also be the main speaker at our UCC’s Central Association Fall Meeting on Oct. 29, 2016. As Moderator of the Association I invited her to come and speak before this current outbreak of violence. Everyone is welcome to come and hear her.






Pink Flower




Love is Our Only Hope
Traci Blackmon

“Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” – Jeremiah 31: 15

Today we mourn the lives of the 5 law enforcement officers killed and those wounded in Thursday’s attack. Our deepest prayers are with their families and communities and we grieve the toxic realities of our times that nourish systemic hatred which knows no bounds.

Ultimately, the guns used to kill those 5 officers and wound six more and one civilian and the guns used to kill Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, John Crawford, Amadou Diallo, 49 mostly Black and Latin LGBTQ people who were at Pulse in Orlando, and the nine people in Bible study in Charleston were loaded by our common enemies—fear and hate.

This same ammunition is responsible for the bombing of mosques and the burning of churches. This same ammunition fuels the escalating levels of death in our nation’s streets as a result of communal violence. Irrational fear and hatred that nurse at the breast of a nation increasingly divided against itself.

We lament collectively the lives lost in Dallas and the blood that stains our streets from death at the hands of fear and hate.

We must mourn them all because we are all connected.

And we must find our way back to Love.

Murder is a by-product of people who have lost their love. Love is our only hope.

We pray for the families. We pray for the cities. We pray for us all. Amen.

Traci Blackmon is the Acting Executive Minister of the United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Ministries.

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