WATCH: No One Can Have My Voice | A Sermon by Bishop William J. Barber II

WATCH: No One Can Have My Voice | A Sermon by Bishop William J. Barber II

now and to build upon that momentum to continue to remedy the deep inequities we see right here in our own backyards thank you for your time and your interest in learning about one wake [Music] thank you noel and let me add my own word of encouragement to our pulling members to get involved in one wake as we share our joys and concerns this morning we want to remember these pam knight asked for prayers for her daughter elizabeth her son-in-law danny and their baby james who just went home after three months in the hospital as you may recall we’ve been praying for baby james baby james was born very early and so has had to remain in the hospital for these past three months they are excited to start their lives all together in their home and pam reports that james looks curious and he was looking all around his room in his new nursery when they got home lucy coutmeyer our church administrator requests prayers for her mother who will have surgery this week for a recurrence of breast cancer we hold in our prayers eric larson’s father keith larson who has bone cancer mr larson had surgery this past week to repair several compression fractures eric has been in alabama with his father and we pray for eric as he is there giving his family support we also continue to hold clay stalnaker and jim hutch be in our prayers as they are recovering from recent hospitalizations we pray for the people of louisiana and mississippi as hurricane ida makes landfall posing life-threatening danger and devices places yesterday august 28th was the 58th anniversary of the march on washington for jobs and freedom it was on that day august 28 1963 that martin luther king gave his i have a dream speech paul do i understand that you were there at that march paul carr one of our members was there yesterday thousands gathered to march on washington for voting rights of movement that reverend barbour has been leading in this country we are grateful for all the voices that gathered yesterday all around the nation to speak out for voting rights and to march against the restrictive laws being enacted all denying people their constitutional right to vote our world from afghanistan to alabama from cuba to chicago from africa to asia from the farthest points east to west from russia to the united states and the farthest corners of the globe north to south from denmark to chile and all the earth and all her inhabitants in between need our prayers and so let us pray let us pray first in silence then in word as i offer a spoken prayer and finally in song let us pray let us pray for the people who are in the path of hurricane ida those whose loved ones were killed in afghanistan this past week let us pray for afghanistan we hold in our prayers our friends in cuba our friends in nicaragua our friends in the republic of georgia we pray for poor and low wealth people in this country in this city in our state we pray for the poor people’s campaign [Music] [Applause] oh [Music] praise god everybody say grace [Music] [Applause] praise god [Music] praise god praise [Music] when [Applause] rise on [Music] we is [Music] [Applause] me [Music] amen and the people said amen amen hallelujah matthew’s gospel records these two verses after they the crowd had gone away a demonic who was mute was brought to jesus and when the demon had been cast out the one who had been mute spoke and the crowds were amazed and said never has anything like this been seen in israel [Music] i open my mouth to the lord and i want turn back i will go i shall go to see what the end’s going to be i open my mouth to the lord amazing grace how sweet the sound to see what the end is going to be i once was lost but now i’m found to see what the end is going to be oh jordan’s river so deep and so wide to see what the end is going to be i wanna cross over to the other side to see what the end is going to be i open my mouth to the lord and i won’t turn back i will go i shall go to see what the end is going to be [Music] [Music] do [Music] [Music] back i will go i shall go i will go i shall go i will go i shall go i will go i shall go i will fall i shall fall i will go i will go [Applause] i will go [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] i [Music] to see what the end’s going to [Applause] [Applause] i will go and i shall go thank god for these psalmists these prophetic minstrels it’s a great tradition in the bible found in the book of kings that says bring forth the minstrels first and then the prophets are able to speak so this morning i thank god for my dear brother freddie and my dear brother ron zell i’m calling him my first name for this morning and uh the other brothers that are joined in my dear sister felicia my dear sister cheryl and my dear sister yara you know we’ve been out here together for a long time now y’all and we said i will go i’m a little tired this morning i won’t lie to you you’ve been on the road about 20 days and we still are dealing with some mean folk some of them told us if we came to texas we would make sure they make sure we drowned in our own blood and in west virginia they said some of them said if you keep on marching up here we’re going to show you something but um when you say to the lord i will go and my daughter’s here this morning i don’t know if i see william but i want to ask her to come up she doesn’t know that coming rebecca had seen i want her this morning to um just read this text one more time nancy in in her her voice and then the subject of the message and then we’re going to see what thus saith the lord i was sharing with sister della who you see sitting up here um that it’s more than a notion to fight for the power of your voice in this world that works so hard to drown us out rebecca if you’d read this the ninth chapter of um matthew down to verse 34 and then in your own voice the subject [Music] then he touched their eyes and said according to your faith let it be done to you and their sight was restored jesus warned them sternly see that no one knows this but they went out and spread the news about him all over that region while they were going out a man who was demon possessed and could not talk was brought to jesus and when the demon was driven out the man who had been mute spoke the crowd was amazed and said nothing like this has ever been seen in israel but the pharisees said it is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons nobody nobody oh nobody can have my tongue or the power of my voice amen nobody can have the power nobody can have my tongue nor the power of my voice grace is god i want to thank you this morning for your strength and ask that one more time you would quicken our mortal body sharpen our mind for when you call men and women to preach you take the risk of putting treasure in trash treasuring earthen frail flawed vessels but you do it that the excellency of the power might be of you oh god and not of us so strengthen us and let the words of our mouth the meditation of our heart be acceptable in thy sight o lord our strength and blessed redeemer come holy spirit come amen i also wanted to say to my dear sister that got up and talked about housing the little old green leaf down in goldsboro revealed and broken places there has had over the last 19 years the privilege of building about 70 homes for poor and low wealth persons um home ownership and so if there’s anything we can partner and do we’d be glad to do so and uh one wanted to tease yara this morning y’all know i don’t know if you all saw when we were in west virginia i mean in texas but yara sung with willie nelson did y’all see that little clip it was kind of at the end and uh willie ain’t been right since he uh freddie ain’t been right he been right freddy says he uh he called me his wife called me his wife she said she said who is that woman and so um now he wants to do a protest concert in west virginia with with tyler childress he’s already called patty austin y’all remember pat austin used to sing with james ingram and uh we got a call y’all are myself and and charmaine this afternoon that with them and he says now y’all are going to be there you know ass was not going to be there and that’s whether but anyway we thank god for the power of voice people are supposed to have a voice that can make a difference we’re made in the image of god [Music] and part of what it means to be made in the image of god is to remember that god spoke the world into existence that is the rendering my dear sister nancy of the original text god said let it be and it was so god spoke the world into existence we are made in the image of god and we’re supposed to have a voice that can make a difference and therefore one of the great declarations we must have as a people of faith is nobody can have my tongue nor the power of my voice in the ancient scriptures hebrew scriptures when the prophets of the bible spoke they said this is the word of the lord and god was constantly reminding them he made ezekiel eat food cooked on top of dung bitter going down sweet coming out but he made him eat and said this will help you with your tongue he said now the people you’re talking to may be stiff neck they may not even pay any attention but i need your tongue i need the power of your voice because at least if you speak they will know there have been a prophet among them and perhaps if you speak in the right place even in the valley of dry bones the bones may be dry they may be broken they may be depressed they may be hurting but bones still have ears and if the right voice speaks to them broken bones broken people can get up nobody can have my tongue nor the power of my voice jesus even said the spirit of the lord is upon me for he hath proclaimed anointed me to speak to proclaim to preach to charimatize that’s what preaching is karygma in greek the good news to the poor cry loud and spare not is the admonition of god let your voice isaiah 58 sound like credit a trumpet and don’t email the people but tell them the nations of their sins jeremiah said his i gotta say something because his word is like fire shut up in my bones and i might be too young in my own mind but the lord said don’t be afraid of their faces i’ve given you an authority to speak because i knew you before you were in your mother’s womb if i was at green leaf i’d say i’m going somewhere somebody help me the prophets knew that sometimes our voice can even echo the voice uh uh the voice that spoke the universe into existence jesus taught with his voice but he’s described as voice the word incarnate the gospel calls jesus the word of god in human flesh god’s physical presence is god’s articulation to humanity when he spoke the people said he taught as one who had authority he came in power his resurrection demonstrated the power of god but his power wasn’t in so much the strength of his arms you notice that there is no physical description of jesus in the bible that just that that that is an attempt to describe him as the son of god the only thing that we hear is it was his voice he was and is the logos the word of god i have a book in my library called sacred fire i shared it one day with cheryl sacred fire and fire is a metaphor for all of the speeches and sermons preached down through the years that set people’s hearts on fire and caused movements to come into existence people we are supposed to have a voice and nobody can have my tongue or take the power of my voice even the hearing and speaking impaired community because i i see you all thinking i i heard it i saw it right there you said but bob everybody can’t speak well that’s even why the hearing and speaking impaired community said to the rest of the world you will listen to us even if we have to develop a sign language that allows us to speak because we are supposed to have a voice as i was meditating on this sermon the spirit of the lord led me to an article by maya angelou smith pray with me this morning as i’m just because i’m tired taking a little time my angela smith is a sociologist and associate professor in the department of french and italian studies at the university of washington state and she wrote about her experience when she heard amanda gorman speak at the inauguration of president biden and her testimony is so powerful i want to read it almost in full she said i caught the live telecast just as amanda gorman was set to recite her soul stirring poem the heel we planned as she took the stage radiant in her bright yellow jacket and red headpiece the morning’s frustrations began to receive and when she gifted us her words i could feel the nation let out a collective sigh of relief after four years of weathering trauma her voice was a bomb for the weary i will forever remember where i was when amanda gorman became a household name do you remember where you were transfix she says by the screen i marveled at the poise of this 20 year 22 year old the slight twinge of nerves did not take away from the weight of her words from the choreographed movements of her hands to the pregnant pauses in her recitation she assumed the mantle of a long line of orators that changed the world martin luther king maya angelou sojourner truth and she fiercelynessly leaned into their legacy a dream deferred no more but it wasn’t until after the interview with anderson cooper that her true impact hit me as cooper discussed his battles with dyslexia and speech issues as a child gormand opened up and she began to reflect on her own journey to find her voice she said i’m proud to be in this sdc the speech difficulty club with you anderson with president biden and also with maya angelou you know growing up i had a speech impediment and for me it wasn’t a stutter it was you know dropping a whole swath of letters in the alphabet up until two or maybe three years ago i couldn’t even say the word the letter aura even to this day sometimes i struggle with it and so i use writing one as a form of self-expression to get my voice on the page but then also it metamorphosizes into a kind of speech pathology for me so the more that i recite out loud the more in which i practice spoken word in that tradition the more i was able to teach myself how to pronounce these letters which for so long had been my greatest demons gorman relied on the power of words and activating those words through speech to overcome her limitations she knew she had a tongue and a voice in learning to vanquish her own demons through embodying language gorman was also preparing herself to help us battle ours and she took the inaugural stage each enunciation stopped the country in her tracks her symphonic resonances briefly neutralized the cacophony of lies and hate spewing from our nation’s center what if she had kept her voice to herself what if she had allowed the demons to win but instead her skinny black body enlivened by poetic language into a blockade against oppression the professor then says i was transported as i listened to that interview to my own struggles in the third grade professor smith says when i was pulled out of class so that i could learn to properly pronounce the letter s to my my unwillingness to speak up in class because even because ever the only black student i was afraid to lift my voice and i wondered that if i misspoke or gave a wrong answer my white classmates would use it to support their assertions that i didn’t deserve to be there and so i let my demons win and it would take two decades for me to gain the confidence to speak in public and i have never truly overcome the panic that wells up inside me each time i do but i have learned that people whose demons hide in words use the utterance of those very words to slay their demons if the demon is trying to keep you from saying it you must say it you must write it you must sing it you must recite it in order to kill the demon she goes on to say as a child maya angelou arguably one of the greatest writers of all time could not speak for five years stemming from a trauma she endured angelo credited her teacher bertha flowers with helping her regain her voice flowers believed that words mean more than what is set down on paper but often you have to write it to say it it takes the human voice of words to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning flowers steady insistence coaxed angelus angelo’s voice to re-emerge and indeed there is great power not just in words but in speaking them out loud and writing them down so that other people can speak them out loud because you don’t realize that when you give truth and loving justice words to the world you are a demon slayer and despite it seemingly if efficient nature especially are set against the materiality of the written word it is through speech somebody say through speech it is through speech that marginalized histories have often endured slaves the lgbtq community women latin the immigrant community the guru oral historians through west africa they harnessed the power of speech to pass it down centuries worth of knowledge partly because of their oral nature these traditions survive the transatlantic slave trade and served a new purpose one of the reasons sometimes people say if i go to an african-american church or a church it happens to be most african-american they say the preaching is long and the service is long but if you look deeper you will understand that speaking long and standing was the way we survived depression and killed demons in a world of oppression sometimes you have to talk longer than 12 minutes in a sermon because it’s not just about sermon it’s about slaying demons dealing with him even as you declare and as the smithsonian notes the demons institutions of slavery and racism attempted to silence generations of african-americans thus oral history became a means of maintaining identity surviving resisting oppression and exploitation as well as a tool for achieving freedom and then the professor closes i know this is a long quote but it’s so necessary she said it is often in the act of overcoming that we activate our power gorman and cooper did so by thrusting their voices turn this down a little bit into spaces where they once saw themselves as insufficient and then the professor says i realize that i became a sociolinguist and a professor for similar reasons i needed to slay my demons the fear of speaking up the fear of holding my truth of speaking my truth the fear of making a fool of myself this fear of being labeled not good enough and the only way i could do that was to speak to believe that i had a tongue and no one had a right to take the power of our voice i would not normally have taken the time to read that entire piece in the sermon but i have a sneaky suspicion as the spirit of the lord is probing me that somebody in this space or the space is listening to us needs this word this morning something somebody some situation has tried and is trying to take your tongue and the power of your voice and this morning we have come to slay demons the testimony from professor smith is an example of why in jesus name if there’s any ministry in the church nasty in jesus name we can’t let anything take our tongue and have the power of our voice actually sometimes silence in church is sin because because we are taught to be silent about the most powerful things while the evil talks all it wants to talk that’s right we can’t let anything this church space must be a speech pathology clinic this space must be a space where folk get delivered from the oppressive silence that is often impressed upon us in the world hmm the sociologist called it a demon and the bible calls it demonic chad myers and walter wink two great theologians help us with the language of demons they show us how in the scriptures demons is actually a way of describing forces of injustice and evil spiritual and political and social that take on a kind of anthropomorphic realities like back in the day we used to call it demand the system they said demons is not what you see on these crazy horror movies and stuff turning no no no no demons is the political and unjust realities that try to keep us from being who god calls us to be and that’s why in the bible all of the miracle storylines have dual meaning you have to look at them when they occur often jesus says to the disciples don’t just look at the physical manifestation of the miracle but see the deeper meaning so in this morning’s text the powers of the empire the political and religious power have united to fight the cause of jesus if you read the entire text they hate that jesus is healing people they have disregarded they want people they don’t like to be forever paralyzed in their guilt paralyzed in their failure paralyzed in their sickness paralyzed in their deafness paralyzed in their possession they want the people to be paralyzed in the lies that the society of that day had poured into them they are trying to kill the dreams of the people they are trying to blind the people to the truth by the way just as a as a as a parenthesis parenthetically do you know one of the 12 steps toward um hitlerism toward what is that called um uh uh fascism is to talk so much the other side can’t hear itself so in the text they are trying to hush the voice of the gospel read this text matthew 9 sometime and and so the miracles do more than just heal the miracles are challenges to the lives of society jesus works to speak to these reality and shows that god is not accepting what the empire is selling god is not accepting what the powers say we ought to do and the silence they are saying we ought to have so the miracle says look the miracles really teach us in the bible no more business as usual when you mess with god read all the texts one in there about somebody being paralyzed comes along the miracle says you try to paralyze my people i’ll make a lame man walk if you try to pause with my people i’ll show you it won’t work if you i’ll heal a woman with an issue of blood if you try to kill my people i’ll raise somebody from the dead and change the heart of the one that you thought was your ally if you try to blind the people i’ll show you i’m not having my people blind politically socially or culturally religiously so i’ll open somebody’s eyes and if you take the voice of the people i’ll open the mouth of a mute to let you know i am not selling accepting what the empire is selling notice in the text that the people who knew the man brought him to jesus they knew his voice mattered they knew jesus wants us to have a voice and they knew that whatever had taken his voice where whether it was fear or hurt or an ailment or or guilt whatever whether it was somatic or psychosomatic or traumatic it was not of god so they bring him to jesus and jesus asked to open his mouth and overcome his muteness to let those back then know and those of us now know that in jesus demons and devilment can’t have the power of our tongue and our voice because the power of life and death is in the tongue you see this mute man without a voice he could not speak love to the community he could not speak truth to power he could not speak about god his creator but when they brought him to jesus jesus said i’m not having it i want you to have your voice and the text points to why every time someone is mute in the new testament it is said they have a demon but hear it in the context something has taken their voice and it’s not of god which is why even when a person can’t speak like moses in the hotel because you know moses was not charleston heston i thought i hate that movie i’m sorry i don’t hate a lot of things but i hate that lie he was not european he was african um and he was not charlton heston he did not say let my people go that was not moses moses needed because if if god didn’t give him his tongue back but god made sure he could speak because he assigned his brother to speak for him so it kind of went like this it kind of went like this pharaoh uh you you you you you and his brother say it’s all right moses god said god is trying to speak through moses to tell you you better let the people go because he said moses i’m going to make you like a god before pharaoh and i’ll make sure your voice is heard even if i have to give you an assistant because god wants us to have a voice god wants us to help us slay our demons the fear of speaking up or being late but not good enough we can’t let anything have the power of our tongue in the power of our voice the voice that god has given us is a mighty instrument it is why the powers and the empire and the evil want to take it from us that’s why trump was always on tv the goal was to feel the airways to the point that nobody else could get a word in edgewise but in the name of jesus this text says god wants us to use our voice and there are three things that i’m through god wants us to use our voice to be transformative it’s right there in the text they said we’ve never seen anything like this that’s what the text said in other words when the man spoke it transformed the people’s entire outlook that’s what god wants to do with our voice huh he said they said we we’ve never seen anything like this when the man spoke he changed the whole belief system of what was possible and what was impossible he changed the entire focus of the nation and i believe god wants your voice and your voice and our voices to still be transformative there’s so much hate being spoken you know not just january 6 the violent insurrection but all the words that led to it and all the stuff that’s coming after it and now the the political policy insurrection going on in state houses and all the hate and all the ugliness but whenever hate and meanness is constantly coming from the mouth something other than god has got the tongue you got to understand when you have people with power and all they can think of is how to say things that will hurt people and deny people and bring people down something has a hold of them other than god james says the book of james jesus’s brother said the tongue becomes a dangerous thing a tornado if you will and that’s why the transformative voice of love speech cannot be muting i can have faith the question is do i have faith with love speak love speech courage courage why did god send jesus the word of god the voice of god the mouth of god he sent that voice to transform things and the way the world was going on he sent that word in the midst of a world of hate and domination to say for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son this man’s voice changed how the people saw reality we’ve never seen it like this and nancy took i actually hadn’t seen this in this text before but i was remembering my father this week and i remember how when i first started preaching my daddy used to say in the church he used to say the voice listen now of the preacher the voice of the singers the voice of the prayers is to transform things by turning people’s ears into eyes god wants our voice to literally change people’s perspective and be forced to declare if they’ve seen racism for a hundred years god wants a voice to come along and make them say but i’ve never seen this kind of liberation before number two god wants to use our voice to speak truth to power somebody look at your neighbor cove it safe and say speak truth to power when the miracle happened and the man spoke his voice literally was a threat to false religion and the culture and caesar’s carrying on and they immediately said jesus must be a demon think about that when the man spoke david said in other words jesus is a threat because people are starting to speak and they will speak truth to power the man challenges their religion and religious domination and their political domination but that’s what god wants to use our voices to do to speak truth to power do you know every city uh government ought to be a little afraid if there’s a church in town and do you know if they are not that means the church has allowed the demon to have her voice all liberation from injustice and of precious powers and religious terrorism starts with the spoken word in fact it’s a sin not to speak up it’s a sin not to speak the truth the bible says speak the truth in love but you must speak because as the text shows us just to be in the presence of jesus in the presence of the spirit is supposed to drive out anything keeping you from speaking truth to power notice in the text jesus doesn’t point it all on the man he doesn’t touch him he doesn’t even say anything that all they had to do was get him in the presence and if you come in a church or you hear a preacher or you’re in a movement and it’s supposed to be out justice and love and it doesn’t make you want to speak you might want to render the spirituality of that place suspect because the text says all they did was brought him into presence and his tongue flew over mouth flew over and his tongue loosened and he became a threat ezekiel 3 verse 18 and 19 says if you if i say to the wicked person you shall surely die but you us do not warn him you do not speak out and warn him about his wicked ways then the wicked person will die watch this but then i will hold you responsible now that scares me that’s one of the things nasty that’s talking to us and you all if there’s wickedness and we don’t say anything the wickedness might bring down the nation but our silence is going to bring us down now if you warn the wicked person and he does not turn from his wickedness then he will die from his iniquity but you will save your life nobody can have the power of your tongue or the power of your voice proverbs 31-9 says speak up speak up judge righteously let me have a tower and defend the rights of the afflicted and oppressed the truth of this text can also help us exegete our current political reality the truth of this text right here helps to spell out what mansion and cinema are doing and why it’s so sinful because to use a filibuster to stop debate and stop truth-telling is sin [Applause] it’s wicked [Applause] from from the biblical perspective and when you see it and you use it to stop the passage of laws that will protect people and protect access to vote and give people a living wage and health care that kind of action has dual damage first of all in the bible in the hebrew words the word for vote and the word for voice is the same word coil kol so when somebody tries to suppress your vote they’re trying to suppress your voice and when they suppress the voice of people the second sin is that now you’re playing god because in this society we only give the right to vote to people not parakeets puppies and pets so if you suppress my right to vote you are not suggesting i’m not a people bad english but good theology you’re suggesting i’m not a person you’re suggesting that you have the authority to subject my humanity to silence and that is sin and if we don’t speak out against it to keep silent in the face of this we join that sin i’ve been telling some of my white brothers and sisters please don’t get in this voting rights fight because you think you need to be altruistic toward black people it’s about this voting battle now is not about black people this is not jim crow you look at the bill why why are they passing them in 49 states even states where there are no black people why do you have the same bill in texas where you now have uh a black but people of color make up the majority the same bill passed in west virginia where they’re highly any black people but the bill they pass up there hurts the miners and poor white folk because this is an attack on the prophetic voice of the nation the possibility of the nation and to not not to challenge it as that is sin i said the other day i wish the hundred members of the progressive caucus and the 58 members of the black caucus would stop sinning somebody got married with me said you cannot we’re not we’re not cinnamon mansion i said yeah but you will not shut things down and say to mansion okay we’ll give you your infrastructure we want infrastructure to do but we’re not going to do it if you’re going to block voting rights how in the world can one person’s voice have more power than 158 voices they said well reverend that’s not the tradition that’s not how we do well it’s how you ought to start doing because to allow that voice to allow people all over this country to pass voter suppression with 51 votes and you won’t stop that voter suppression with 51 votes is sin it is a misuse of the power of our voice the voice is supposed to be used to speak truth to power moses said let my people go esther said if i perish i perish isaiah said open my mouth like a trumpet william lord garrison the great abolitionist said look don’t ask me to be moderate when it comes to talking against slavery he said go tell a a a mama to gradually and moderately extricate her baby from a fire into which it has fallen go tell a man that’s watching his wife be raped to be moderate and deliver her but don’t you ever tell me to be moderate when it comes to speaking out against slavery i will not be modest moderate i’m in earnest i will not equivocate i will not excuse i will not retreat one single inch and i will be heard frederick douglass after the supreme court in 1857 ruled and said that plus uh that that black people had no rights the dred scott decision that white people ever had to pay attention to frederick douglass said every attempt to hold on to slavery and silence the abolition movement will only serve to intensify and embolden our agitation and our voice lincoln at gettysburg said it wasn’t much that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation under god will shall have a new birth of freedom and the government of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth words speaking truth to power fannie lou hamer said all of this happened to me on the counter we wanted to register to vote and if the freedom democratic party is not seated now i questioned america and her voice was so powerful it made lyndon baines johnson call a special news conference to try to block the america from hearing her voice because she was sick and tired of being sick and tired jesse jackson was a stutterer when he grew up but when god needed the son of the civil rights movement to run for president he loosed his voice in 1984 to say we are gathered here this week to nominate a candidate and adopt a platform which will expand unity direct and inspire our party and the nation to fulfill this mission and then he said my constituency is the desperate the damned the disinherited the disrespected and the despised they are the restless and and seek release they have voted in record numbers they have invested the faith and hope and trust that they have in us this is a call to conscience redemption expansion healing and unity leadership must heal heed the call of conscious redemption expansion and healing and unity for they are the key to achieving our mission and time is neutral does not change things only courage and the ability to speak up changes things keep hope alive barbara lee congressman was the only woman that dad to stand up to the entire congress 20 years ago said we have no business going to afghanistan it’s not going to end well not going to end well nancy petty i remember when she said to the lgbt community not only must we ask people to stand with the lgbt community we must stand with other communities and unite those struggles black lives matter says it is our duty to fight for freedom and it is our duty to win the poor people’s campaign says everybody has a right to live we have to speak that we have to be clear when the voice is used to speak truth to power power knows is in trouble that’s why when this man starts speaking they immediately start to discredit him and the one that gave him his speech because they know that power the empire knows that god wants to use our voices to speak truth to power and so the forces of injustice always want to kill it or shut it down but what they don’t understand is you can kill the the the container of the voice but god will always have a voice because every sermon that nancy petty has ever preached from this pulpit and every sermon that i’ve ever preached is like a seed and somebody called it somebody has the word we can never surrender our voice we can never surrender our voice when power hurts god wants us to speak healing when lies are told god wants us to speak truth when injustice is raging god wants us to speak justice when hell is on on it on fire god wants the cooling waters of heaven to be spoken when division is going god wants us to speak unity when there’s confusion god wants us to speak peace and make them hear us why did the powerful kill the prophets because their voice mattered their voice matters but then there’s a final thing and i and it’s in the text finally our tongues our voice must be used to speak praise unto god now you gotta have a little holy spirit imagination to see this in the text and you gotta do a little cross-referencing the bible says immediately the man spoke but if you go to other places in the bible and it tells this story it says immediately the man spoke and began to speak praise unto god i once heard somebody actually say you don’t have to praise god with your mouth i’ve even heard folks say you know the difference between the black church and the white church is the difference between quiet and loud you know that over there they are culturally loud you know that’s some bull praising got nothing to do with culture am i right sir i’ve been around some black folk there’s this that’s quiet and there’s some churches not far from here i won’t call you your name if you say amen and that black church they’ll send to usher to say so if i like that live folk been talking about all black folk and dance you’re lying all black folk came to ants and all white churches ain’t meant to be quiet and praise has nothing to do with culture praise has something to do with conviction praise has something to do with knowing that god gave you your voice praise has something to do with with knowing that god is the source of your strength praise baal has something to do with knowing that god allows you to speak and when you speak in the name of god demons tremble oh god the bible says in psalm 71 it’s not it’s not culture it’s conviction it’s not culture it’s knowing what the word says around here pulling y’all still read the bible anybody here read the bible and pull y’all still believing about y’all still want nancy to preach from the bible oh well let me tell you what’s in the bible about your mouth my mouth is filled with your praise and your glory all day long psalm 145 my mouth will speak the praise of the lord and all flesh will bless god’s name together psalm 34 uh it says i will bless the lord at all times god’s praise shall continually be in their mouth does that sound like black culture or does that sound like christian conviction psalm 109 30 said with my mouth i’ll give thanks abundantly not a little bit but abundantly to the lord and in the midst of many when i’m around a lot of folk i get louder with my praise that’s that’s what the text actually says psalm 149 and 6 says let the high praises of god be in their mouth because praise is like a two-edged sword it cuts through depression and cuts through hurt and lie james 3 and 9 said with the tongue we bless the lord our god and with it we curse men who have been made in the likes of god that is not what we should be doing psalm 51 says oh lord open my lips i wish somebody would pray that this morning oh lord open my lips and you know psalm 51 was when david had fallen anybody ever failed anybody ever sinned anybody ever lived less than what you thought you ought to be living and then the lord brought you back and the lord forgave you then you ought to say lord open my lips that my mouth might declare praise unto your name psalm 40 says he put a new song in my mouth anybody different since you’ve been in the church anybody different since you learned how to pray anybody different since you met the lord the lord said he put a new song in my mouth the bible says but the bible says in romans 15 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the lord psalm 66 says i cried to him with my mouth anybody ever cried to the lord on your bed by yourself while you were knitting while you were riding you cried unto the lord and asked the lord to help you psalm 71 15 my mouth shall tell of your righteousness and your salvation all day long psalm 8 and 2 from the mouth of infants and nurses you shall establish strength when you praise god you get stronger hebrew 13 and 15 through him then let us continually offer up the sacrifice of prayer have you ever not felt like not getting up and felt like not coming to church but then you got here and you just gave god the praise that you moved anyhow you’ve got to praise god with your mouth because praise is a tool of liberation and praise is a defiance when i praise god i’m saying the racism you can’t have my mouth when i praise god i’m saying the homophobia you can’t have my mouth when i praise god i say the oppression you can’t have my mouth don’t y’all understand that’s why martin luther king at the end of the march on washington people missed it if they didn’t know this in the spirit he ended with a praise he ended with a praise huh he said i have a dream so and so on and so on and so on and then he said he said but that song free at last three at last then he had to praise god one time thank god almighty i’m free at last that was a shout out to all the evil you ain’t gonna shut me up that was a shout out to the assassins you can’t kill me all the way thank god almighty is there a witness in the house that’ll say the devil the demons have tried to mute your voice and mute your tongue but god has loosed your mouth and you know how to give praise unto god i know the past 15 months or 12 months 20 months have been tough i know a lot of things have been going on but is there anybody in pulling is there anybody on the line that will declare to the empire and the evil no matter what you do no matter how many trumps you send the law no matter how many mccarthy’s you send the law no matter how many mcconnells you send along no matter how many mansions you send the law my mouth belongs to god my voice belongs to god and you better understand as long as i got breath in my body i’m gonna speak truth i’m gonna speak love i’m gonna speak righteousness i’m gonna speak great i will speak love i will speak jesus i will praise his name because because can i close here when i think of the goodness of jesus when i think of how god has blessed me see y’all don’t understand why i’m such a long-winded preacher can i finally tell pulling because for 12 years i couldn’t walk for 12 years i had to preach in a wheelchair for 12 years i had to preach on a walker for 12 years they said i might never be able to walk again people told me ain’t nobody’s going to want you to be their pastor you can’t be involved in civil rights you don’t have any legs but for 12 years i spoke satin down for 12 years every time i stood behind a pulpit it felt like somebody had a butcher knife all the way up in the left side of my hip pushing all the way to the backbone in my back but then one morning i woke up and after i had been swimming and praying and thinking and working with the doctor i was able to walk and i made a declaration to god every sermon i preached gonna be long because when i stand i’m standing by the grace of god i’m gonna talk long as i can talk i’m gonna speak long as i can speak is there anybody here that has a mouth and has a tongue and god has brought you through too much to be quiet i wish you would say it with me when i think of the goodness of jesus and all that he’s done for me my soul cries hallelujah thank god [Applause] did anybody else show up here today not know needed that word right there i did i came to this place reverend barbara this morning not knowing i needed that word i needed that word we all have a voice not just those of us who stand in that pulpit but every single one of us and it’s easy for the world as you just said to take that voice away want to take that voice away from but it can’t god gave it to us and the demons can’t take our voice from us so as ronzell plays and as we respond to this word that we’ve heard today i want everybody to stand up and i want you to hear your voice and i want you to say out loud nobody can have my tongue or the power of my voice just keep saying it as ronzell plays nobody can have my tongue or the power of my voice just keep saying it [Music] nobody this nobody nobody can have the tongue of this prophetic congregation and the power of our collective voice for over 157 years this congregation has not let anybody have their tongue for the power of their voice and now is not the time to start letting them now is the time to have the strength and the courage to speak your truth to speak god’s love and to know that when we go from this place with that commitment to let nobody have our tongue and to let nobody have the power of our voice we go in strength and encourage and embrace to do what we are called to do as god’s disciples today think about that you have it you have everything you need god has given it to you and to us to have a voice thank this man this prophet [Applause] tell him tell him we’re praying for you [Applause] we’re not just clapping for him we’re clapping for the divine light and spark that lives inside of that man and his willingness to be that light in that voice yar and ben send us out [Music] oh [Music] wrong [Music] [Music] oh [Music] queens [Music] [Applause] [Music] god is [Music] you near the cross may your troubles [Music] is [Music] [Music] god [Applause] [Music] days [Music] this is [Music] so in case you have fallen by the wayside of life [Music] [Applause] you’re all broken inside you don’t have to stay [Music] to put you back together again in case your situation has turned upside down [Music] is [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] to put you back together again [Music] you need [Music] [Music] my friends [Music] to put you back [Music] [Applause] [Music] it’s in the potter’s house there’s love you’ll find it in the potter’s house there is love love all in the potter’s house there is salvation yes [Music] in the potter’s house [Music] [Music] you’ll find everything you need everything you need everything you need [Music] [Music] oh to put you back together [Music] you’re gonna have to come back
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WATCH: No One Can Have My Voice | A Sermon by Bishop William J. Barber II

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