“THE DEAFENING SILENCE!”
America literally burned in the wake of the tragic and senseless murder of George Floyd, a father, native Houstonian, and unarmed African-American male, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. Already detained and handcuffed on “accusations” of using a counterfeit $20 bill, Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as he repeatedly gasped, “I Can’t Breathe!” and even called for his deceased mother! America watched in horror as time stood still, and the four other responding officers looked on in apathy and utter insouciance! Since this latest tragedy, people of all races have taken to the streets in every major American city and around the world to protest their utter disgust of the racial hatred, bigotry, and oppression in this country.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “… a riot is the language of the unheard.” While tens of thousands peacefully protested, some of the outrage turned into violence, looting, and vandalism. The “language of the unheard” is not simply in response to George Floyd’s death. Rather, it is a microcosm of the African-American experience in this nation (as well as other marginalized people) resulting from centuries of feeling unheard economically, educationally, in employment, and empowerment! Tonight’s teaching presentation focuses on a Psalm of Disorientation. As many of us watch life “seemingly” deteriorate before our very eyes, we’re left feeling “unheard.” David, a man after God’s own heart, persistently and passionately protested to God! We can protest too as Believers! However, we will learn how to respond when we experience “The Deafening Silence!”
II. EMOTE OUTWARDLY! vv.1-2
- It’s “OK” to cry! John 11:35
- Suppression causes you to implode or explode! Psalm 32:3
- Denial is not a river in Africa! Nehemiah 1:1-4
III. ENLIGHTEN OPTICALLY! v. 3
- Tears of despair can be blinding! Psalm 56:8-9
- Our help comes from the Lord! Psalm 121
- Trust God to restore your sight! Mark 8:25; Ephesians 1:15-18
IV. ENCOURAGE OURSELVES/OTHER! v. 5
- Help people be EN(IN)-COURAGE! 1 Thessalonians 5:11
- Our children need parental positivity! Colossians 3:21
- Make encouragement contagious! Galatians 6:7-8
V. EXPECT OVERFLOW!
- God deals bountifully with us! v. 5
- Overflow is generational! Psalm 115:14
- Trust in God’s protection and provision! Joel 2:26
First Verizon Wireless, then Sprint, coined the slogan, “Can You Hear Me Now?” If you have ever felt ignored and “unheard,” then this psalm is just for you! As we continue navigating these trying times, it is important that we truly learn to express ourselves. For many years, we have been socialized and silenced by systemic slavery and racism. David had such an authentic and transparent relationship with God that he was free to protest to God! David’s protest was pure and powerful! Even when America’s silence is deafening to us, we have blessed assurance! “In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”
Source: Brueggemann, Walter. The Spirituality of the Psalms, Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2002.
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