From “Preaching Is More Than Words,”
a sermon by William J. Barber II
To preach is to see the people who are crying out and the systems that are crushing them. It is to say, “Somebody’s hurting my people and it’s gone on far too long and we won’t be quiet and inactive anymore.” It is to do something about it. It is to join with others who are doing something about it.
When words are changed into deeds of liberation, that’s preaching. And anything else is just talking.
When the fruit of the lips become actions dedicated to justice—that’s preaching.
When our words call Jews and Muslims and Christians and Sikhs and Buddhists and even people not of faith to come together to work the work of love and work the work of liberation—that’s preaching.
When a call goes out that unites people across the lines of race and class and creed and sexuality—now that’s preaching.
When the Poor People’s Campaign brings Natives and Asians and Black and White and Brown people together, and march together and organize together and go to jail together for a moral revolution of values, that’s preaching.
When preachers go to the border and serve communion to the officers and communion to those who are holding back the immigrants and then tell them while they’re eating the communion that they need correction and that they’re wrong, that’s preaching.
When nuns lobby for healthcare and when preachers say, “I’m not gonna preach another funeral over somebody who died from the lack of healthcare and said ‘God called him home.'” Instead, I’m going to say, “God may welcome them home, but the government killed them.” That’s preaching.
When churches and synagogues and mosques open their doors and offer sanctuary to families that are being ripped apart by ICE, that’s preaching!
And when that kind of preaching is happening, it is transformative. It changes the world. It might get you killed, but that same preaching will get you back up again. And if it doesn’t get you back up, preaching also gets folks pregnant. So you might be dead, but those behind you will come forth. Preaching always produces.