The Rev. Dr. Earle Fisher in a YouTube screenshot at the 2019 State of the County address.

February 15, 2019

We invoke the presence of God in this place. But we do not call on the God of conformity or complacency. We do not petition the throne of a God of injustice and inequity. We do not summon a god who builds walls of terror and hate. We call on the one who is a bridge over troubled waters. We do not beckon for a deity that is divine in name only but powerless over the evils that befall us. So, we call on the God of Justice … the God of Truth … the God of Liberation and the God of Love. We call on the God that has sustained black life in this country for 400 years, and saw fit to uphold this city and county for 200 years.

We ask you, O God, to make us honest about where we are and what we must do to get to where you desire and have designed us to be. We rebuke our impulses for smoke and mirrors, political expediency and other forms of exploitative advancement. We summon the Spirit of Courage and Maladjustment as You send us further into this season of legitimate discontent. May we use our time here today, not to pander or pontificate with platitudes … challenge us to commit to plans that bring about the structural and systemic change that causes Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We denounce, decry and condemn mediocrity, and pledge to embrace the majestic and miraculous mission of fair and living wages, truly equitable contracting, reasonable access to healthcare, education that empowers and doesn’t exploit, and the full range of beauty that embraces blackness and diversity as an asset and not a liability.

YouTube video

Help us to be much better than basic.

No matter what is said and shared here today, may it be submissive to the sovereign God who demands that we love our neighbors in North Memphis, South Memphis, Millington and Hickory Hill, like we love ourselves in Harbor Town, Downtown, Germantown and Collierville. May we not rest until we do this. May the brooks of our bigotry and hatred dry up so that justice can roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. Deliver us from dysfunction and deception. Guide us into your path eternal. God of our weary years; God of our silent tears; thou who has brought us thus far along the way. Thou who has by your own might, led us into this light … keep us forever in your path we pray … in the name of all things holy, and in the Spirit of our loving and living Black Messiah, Jesus the Christ we pray …

Amen and Ashe.

This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit reporting project on economic justice in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by the Surdna Foundation and Community Change.