Proverbs 8: A Sermon in Verse | Sojourners

Proverbs 8: A Sermon in Verse

Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? –Proverbs 8:1

You have to ask, “How are you?” even when you know the answer
Even if we don’t know how to ask
You have to, and soon after that say, “I’m sorry”
Especially when it’s too hard to grasp
The fact that you never can imagine can’t stop you
From feeling so angry, so sad
Sometimes all I want a white person to do is stop pouring pity on me
Say, “I got you”
Speak life on the internet
Tell all your cousins when you hear em that they bugging
That is not true
But don’t live on the internet
Cause what’s killing us is real hands, real ropes, real knots
Real people, get hyped and like to digital box
But the real fight is not only there, it’s here
When you think someone better cause they got good hair
Or see a mixed child and you can’t stop staring
Or notice how they talk then wonder why you care
See a black millionaire, wonder why it’s so rare

A lot of violence ain’t just about guns
It could happen if you woman, it could happen if you queer
It could happen if you young and try and play on 53rd
It could happen with a corporation saying empty words
Black Lives Matter, please they just trying to sell a shirt
If they really down, ask what they paying folks to work
If they really down, ask why they tearing up the Earth
When you went to the doctor, and saw a black nurse
And you winced just a little
The violence of the streets is reflective
Of the violence inside a heartbeat
So if you wanna see black people win
Ask first about the violence you participate in
Ask about the next dollar you spend
Whether this is just a drug or for the people you love

And then we see how difficult it is
Spend all day feeling like a hypocrite
But that ain’t my aim, I’m just pointing to the fact
That we all guilty, even if you black
Went and looted up the stores cause of hurt
When the first came, mothers couldn’t even buy milk
I mean it’s so insidious to think
Of a problem so big that it’s driving us to drink
I think I’m s’posed to do a sermon right now
Folks starting to get nervous cause I won’t stop and preach
I use the only language that I know
I grew up on Wu-Tang and Death Row
I grew up with, go to church, get a shout
But when you saw em midweek, you could tell they was po
And I don’t wanna live like that no mo

I know too many folk who don’t wanna live no mo
To give you a religion to medicate the pain
I know a God who met me in the rain
And didn’t protect me, let me feel everything
And when I felt everything, let me know I was okay
So I know some folks looking for the solution
Or want me to tell them, “hey you’re one of the good ones”
Look in your heart, and you will know the truth
It’s not my job to give absolution
I saw this week in the protests, beauty
And pain at the same time, more than I could do with
I saw black people yell, crying out of love
I saw white people say, “We don’t do enough”
Or maybe through the silence, we’ve been doing too much
Julian, I love you, tell me how to lift you up

I saw a young man get arrested for the cause
He didn’t hesitate to see the blessing in it all
I saw a car chase, Latin Kings vs. the GDs fine
Just know that division is by design
A black man trying to hold onto his mind
Tell the truth, yo, I had to cut it off a couple times

I had to watch myself when folks asked, “How are you?”
Cause who’s supposed to know what to say?
I thought about how we heading into June
And how life must feel if you black and you gay
And what it means to have tolerance vs. true acceptance
And openness to really do the learning
That’s why I’m proud to be pastor of a church
That is really, truly, open and affirming
Cause anything less is violent to them
I understand what my silence is to them
Some folks ask why I go so hard, “You ain’t gay J”

But I’m OUT looking for the same thing
I want folks that live inside of privilege
To crash that fence down and come with me and risk it
I want folks who stay with me today
Knowing they could easily, easily walk away
I want people that’ll turn they lives loud
In real life homie, you can turn that text down
I want the same chance you have now
It’s okay to be BLACK and PROUD
The same wisdom that raised her voice at the beginning of the earth
Cause she didn’t have a choice
I want her to become my coat
I want to sing Divine Sophia notes
I want to live in a world where we love and we play
And it’s okay to say “I don’t know”
Or “I’m tired, a lil bit weary”
And know without any judgment, you hear me
Where some Sundays, you can hear a sermon quoting Howard Thurman
Then some Sundays you hear this
I’m fearless, holding to the clutch and the gearshift
Knowing my whole life was a near miss
They fear this, knowing that we just might reach
And get strong, so they tie up our arms …
If you think black people are violent by nature
Inherently filled up with hate
Then just think, why hasn’t somebody killed you
Black people have the most grace
You know why we insist that we strong
Cause for 400 years we have carried this weight
We got out okay
We are not okay
You are not okay
This is not okay
Don’t be acting dumb
Like what’s wrong with them
Understand the privilege you living with
We don’t need guilt, we don’t need shame
We need courage to get up and help me live
I already know who to blame
Just tell me who ready to build
I know it’s just one little church
But one little seed can sow a whole field
I want us to build up the nerve
I want us to build up the will
To worship a God who changes
To know that racism kills
We already got hit by coronavirus
I’m just sad cause I want us to heal
And I’m thankful to folks that reach out to me
Cause I know that your passion is real

I didn’t do this to impress you
I did it, in hopes it would bless you
So you could see a black man fully
As a pastor, a family man
And J.Kwest too
Start accepting people as they truly are
That’s a different kind of protest too
In the silence, know that God loves you
Sophia is ready, to teach you and test you
Trust what you hear as the truth
I’m one person you can talk to
I know you feeling overwhelmed by it all
So am I, this is what it all means to be alive
To love wisdom and know that she is nigh
And God is so faithful, even when we’re not
I grew up thinking God was in the sky
The whole time missing that the spirit was inside
I thank God I am alive
And grateful that we’re doing this together, you and I

I wonder what’s going on inside that mind
Watching all this happen and especially if you white
But not as much as I’m worried about mine
The black men I’m talking to about suicide
And mental health, hell naw we ain’t well
When they solution to power is put em in a cell
When public school get less funding than the jail
Then say it’s school choice, you can leave if you want
Then wonder why it’s no black unity
Why we go and tear up our own community
Cause we been brainwashed to thinking we ain’t worth much
Gone get yo education then skirt
You don’t hear us til we yell, bring down scorched earth
If you love me, give me what I deserve AT BIRTH

And the church say AMEN, AMEN
But when that service done … yo ionknow about the church
I speak as a pastor of 10 years, almost
So I know what’s happening with my peers
They get active, as long as you can see em
White allies crying crocodile tears
Let a month go by, half of them you won’t see em
Why Jesus saw that temple said, “You’ll see”
Don’t judge progress by looking at the march
Look at who still working when it’s dark
When the cameras go away and ain’t no internet to chart
How much good you doing, how you so honored to be part …
Man … I get whiplash looking at 'em run
Is this X Games? they just wanna stunt
But if you get in this fight, for justice and love
Luke 14, stay until it’s done
Cause it’ll change everything that you own
And how you talk about the world in your home
If your company ain’t talking bout race
or making concrete changes, go and ask
You ask, “What’s the next best thing to do?”
Be still, and you will hear the truth
Charge your phone, and when you turn it on
You will see Sophia is calling out to you