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Sermon Preached at LSTC Chapel 10/3/16



Sermon Notes –

The sermon is on Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4. It was preached to excite the LSTC community about #decolonize16 on October 22nd 2016. This is full of run on sentences and grammatically a mess. Its written how I thought I would preach it. Might be better to listen.




Grace peace and mercy from God the Father and the Sneaky Lady the Holy Spirit, Amen?


So I want to thank you all for the kind invitation to visit my peers here in Chicago. My name is Lenny Duncan and I am Coop Mdiv student at LTSP or United Seminary. I am also currently serving as the Vicar at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Conshohocken PA which is 2 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I am also an early adopter and organizer within the #decolonizelutheranism movement. All that to say I’m broken person in a broken world trying to live out this thing called Church and follow Jesus. I’m also sure just like at home you are at the AHHHHH Phase of the semester where it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant so I bring greetings from your peers on the edge also in Philly.


2O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.


I want to talk to you about the in between spaces. The spaces where it seems the whole world is taking a deep breath and ………………there seems like there will never be an exhale.


Liminal spaces.  Church, peers, collogues we are in a liminal Space.


Liminality is the in-between moments, the space between an inciting incident in a story and the protagonist’s resolution. It is often a period of discomfort, of waiting, and of transformation. Your characters’ old habits, beliefs, and even personal identity disintegrates


Our country and our Church is in a Liminal Space. The moment of inhale was Charleston and the massacre at Mother Emmanuel. We are waiting to exhale.

O Lord how long shall I cry to you for Help, and you will not listen.

Terrence Crutcher

Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save

Sandra Bland. Philandro Castile.

3Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?

Orlando and the Pulse Massacre, Charlotte, Baltimore, Fergunsen

Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

#BlacklivesMatter #Bluelivesmatter #Alllivesmatter Does life matter at all God?

4So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.

Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Gynna Mcmillian

The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

When you are surrounded by wickedness and you are suffering from a national PTSD, as I think all black and brown peoples are in this time, these voices will pervert the clear and sound judgements of God. These voices will tell you that the real problem is you are killing yourself. Never mind the systemic conditions that led you down this rabbit hole with only one way out. Never mind that the you can see pools of crimson blood of young men and woman growing and spreading until our entire nation becomes awash in them. Never mind the fact that you should be screaming, but the tone police have reduced your lament to a whisper. Never mind the fact that we all say something should be done, but nothing. Nothing is all we can come up with. I grew up on 63rd and race in West Philly and no one read the CWA memorials this year there.

The judgement of God is in my opinion being able to see things from his perspective. The way Jesus a brown man who was living in a colonized land, was railroaded in court and killed by the means of state sanctioned violence and execution. We can put on those glasses.


But we are in a liminal space. You have been crafted for this space. It was decided before the very first cries of your parents out of the womb that you would feel a call, an urging to serve the people of God at this time. This liminal space.

(Tell the story of the week of Charleston. Talk about that Sunday. Take a deep breath and walk away from the podium)


:1I will stand at my watchpost,
and station myself on the rampart;

Called, ordained, emerging, and all leaders I ask you to stand at your watch post at this time in our country, do not look away. Do not turn your head. Do not look away at this time. It would be easy to become weighed down by another hashtag that is supposed to represent another life. That somehow a trending name is supposed to encompass all the joys, sorrows, birthdays, triumphs, failures of someone’s son or daughter.
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

God is listening. The Holy Spirit she is moving. Christ is in, with under us at this time. The incarnational community.


2Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.

Write the vison clear, make it plain. #Blacklivesmatter. Jesus stands with the oppressed. The marginalized is not where the Church should be looking to see where it can help, but should be walking towards because that is where the very heart of our church lies.

3For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.

There is hope around the corner. There is Grace pouring out from the great font that is God all-encompassing love. We must stand in the liminal space that is playing out across our country with the surety that the kingdom will come. That we are the visible sign of this kingdom, while folks have flagging spirits. When they have no belief that a better day is on the very edge of bursting forth. That the very nature of what we call Justice is going to be flipped on its head. The ministry of accompaniment has to include lament. It has to be a deep a roving critical eye on what we are doing, how we are telling the story because the cross happened. Resurrection happened. They took Trayvon from his mother, but she will hold him again. They broke the back of Freddie Gray but he will stand next to me at the banquet. They left Sandra to die but Christ showed up, he took his loving daughter in his hands and he gave her a glimpse of what he was going to do with all of this brokenness, these shattered pieces of a dream deferred and he took her image, her vision, and added it to the beautiful mosaic he was painting with the broken pieces of the American dream. He took the colors of red white and blue that have turned into a crimson pool and he dipped her hand in it, and the colors she was suddenly painting with are the deep browns and rich black of our bodies and he showed her a vision of the kingdom to come. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

We serve a creator not held by the confines of time and space but has stepped into time and space and he has plucked you.

Suffering from imposter syndrome. Stricken with the belief that you are alone. Shoved into a whirlwind of theological thought and ideas. Exposed to ideas so alien to you try to fight them off but they are now part of your heart.

He has chosen you. I beseech in the name of Christ write the vison down plain in tablets. Be the runner and tell all you see. In this Liminal Space God is alive. He is well. He has calling for us all, right now.


4Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.




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