Several weeks ago, we had a membership meeting at the Shiloh Church. During the meeting, I made several comments about the trial in which George Zimmerman was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin. The next day, a member sent me a note thanking me for sharing my thoughts about this important matter.
That note stuck with me. He was right. Outside of my passing comments in that meeting, the members of my congregation had no way of knowing how their pastor processed these events. I strive to preach the Bible, not current events. But this time my silence on a big cultural event felt strange.
Then last week I attended at preaching conference in Dallas. During a panel discussion, the question was asked whether a pastor should break a series to address current events.
John MacArthur answer that when something significant happens in the culture, he pulls away from his series to address it. This was a surprising answer from one who is known for preaching through books of the Bible. But he made the point that if the pastor does not help his people make sense of issues from a biblical perspective, we leave our people to figure it out on their own or, worse, to let the culture shape our people’s thinking.
That answer stuck with me. And I determined that I would be a better steward of my pulpit in this regard.
Then I got home Friday evening and turned on the news to find the jury deliberating. And as Saturday rolled on, I had a feeling the verdict would come. I was right. The jury’s not guilty verdict was announced as I was calling it a night.
I wasn’t able to get much sleep. So I got up to work. I determined that I would bypass Daniel and preach something else. I chose to talk about submitting to God’s will even when it does not go your way. This message on the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 610b) was not about the case. But it did give me an opportunity to make applications associated with it.
I did not directly address the verdict in the message. But I did make a brief statement before I started preaching. I made the following statements basically without comment:
1. We are saddened by the fact that another young black man lost his life in such a tragic manner.
2. We grieve with the parents and family of Trayvon Martin who had to bury their child and now live without him.
3. We feel the weight of the historic and continual racial discrimination of this country that we love.
4. We accept the verdict of the jury and respect the legal process.
5. We pray for all parties involved.
6. We trust in the goodness, faithfulness, and sovereignty of God.
7. We pray for the day when the wicked shall cease from troubling and the weary shall be at rest.
8. We are resolved to strive for change in our community, city, and country by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
9. We refuse to take matters into our own hands or cause these circumstances to make us act like we don’t know Jesus.
How did you address the Zimmerman verdict this weekend?