Grief that Inspires Action: The Story of Rizpah and her Modern-Age Daughters

Whose injustice do you remember?
Whose cause do you uphold today?

Is it solidarity with modern-day Rizpahs Mamie Till, Tamika Palmer, Geneva Reed-Veal whose children Emmett Till, Breonna Taylor, and Sandra Bland were murdered as a result of systemic injustice and hate?

Is it the lives of any number of unarmed Black people killed by police or the continued killing of Black transgender women?

Is it the plight of migrant mothers like Yazmin Juarez whose daughter Maree died while in ICE custody or María Reynoso who was separated from her daughter Adelaida 3 years ago and has yet to be reunited.

When we read the story of Rizpah found in the book of 2 Samuel, we discover that Rizpah does not consider herself powerless. In her grief, she raises furious fists to protect the bodies of her children and to demand justice by remembering the dead. An ancestor to all mothers who have lost children to injustice, Rizpah is a foremother of the “Nevertheless, she persisted” movement. Rizpah’s actions, which changed the heart of a king, remind us that injustice may otherwise prevail if we allow ourselves to forget those who are denied justice.

[Hear this midrash of the story of Rizpah by Rev. Laurie DeMott.]

Whose injustice do you remember?
Whose cause do you uphold today?

This sermon was preached at Danville Congregational Church United Church of Christ on July 19, 2020.

The Great White Awakening
A Series by Rev. Todd Atkins-Whitley

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