Greetings! Today is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the congregation of Evergreen UMC-San Jose. I am very glad to be with you in your Father’s Day worship service we’re doing virtually. I thought of using the basketball game as an analogy. In a basketball game, players may change, but the game remains the same. Although there is an ongoing conversation regarding the resumption of the NBA season, halted by COVID-19 pandemics, it is planning a new format at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. A basketball game in which the game hasn’t changed, only a new format will be implemented. I’ve heard a sports analyst who said that all sports, like basketball are a distraction. But may we not get distracted from our work of proclaiming peace and Justice in the current social unrest that is affecting our country and the world. We celebrate Father’s Day, it’s the same game but we’re the ones changing. We are being transformed.
What are your expectations on Father’s Day? Those expectations, aspirations and intentions are changing. I invite you, all the fathers today to take a Call to Action as you and I affirm our commitment to John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.
George Floyd was a father. According to many witnesses, he loved dearly his six-year-old daughter, Gianna. Gianna will no longer see her father in person and body. But he is alive in Gianna’s life as the voice of the marginalized People of Color that have long been discriminated in this country. George Floyd has become a representation of many of us. Some of us with our ethnic identity that have been taught by the colonizers to address our masters and colonizers as “Sirs,” even to the point of oppression and death. Eric Garner and George Floyd’s voices of “I CAN’T BREATHE” have become an outcry of the marginalized and discriminated. Our call to action is to confront America’s Original Sin, RACISM, according to Jim Wallis, the chair of the Editorial Board of the Sojourners Magazine.
In the “Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, it is stated, “Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.” But this interpretation is a white culture’s interpretation and an exercise of white privilege for individual salvation. Those who embody white supremacy are the ones whose souls are corrupted, and they are evil to the marginalized Black Americans, Hispanic Latino, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Asian Americans. Those who violate the dignity and human rights of the People of Color, dehumanizing and judging them because of the color of their skin are very far gone from the righteousness of God.
Therefore, in solidarity to the victims of extra-judicial killings because of racism, let us confront the original sin by Repentance. This leads to a change of heart and mind. I remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in his speech, “I Have a Dream.” “I have a dream that my four little children will one day be judged not according to the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Let us repent of our use of privileges that dehumanize people. Paul wrote, “By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” Those truly believe in God the Creator that is embodied in Jesus, who have repented of their sins, must uphold the truth that every human being has been created in the image of God. You and I must repent in idolizing God as dominant white, but rather God in Jesus is of diverse color in the richness of diversity. The Rev. Sunae Cho shared with me that is a growing good number of Filipino families in your congregation. The first-generation Filipino Americans that have emigrated here, I am included have suffered from colonization that until now, because of colonial mentality, we look up to please our masters who are white. Franz Fannon, the author of the book, “The Wretched of the Earth,” wrote and I quote that, “The most difficult thing to change is the colonized mind.” You and I need to resist the Original Sin of Racism that is leading people to live in bigotry and intolerance. Our ministry of resistance against all forms of evil such as racism is holy. You and I have been set apart as disciples of Jesus to transform the world. Resisting all forms of evil is part of the covenant we made a commitment to when we were baptized and received in the United Methodist Church. Part of our Call to Action is that we must exercise our right to vote in November to stop the increasing support of white supremacy.
Fathers, mothers, children, young people, we all have died to sin by faith in Jesus band have been forgiven by the grace of God. Let us not betray God’s gift of forgiveness in all of us. According to John Perkins, founder of Christian Community Development Association, “We do not give people dignity. We affirm it.” Let us affirm the dignity of all of our fathers. Happy Father’s Day.