by TE Rev. Michael L. Moore,
Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church
On Friday, April 14, the Presbytery of Baltimore's Apostle/Disciples group is hosting a Good Friday event with a twist. Instead of the "Seven Last Words" sermon traditionally offered on Good Friday, we'll look ahead to the "Seven First Sayings" after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The service will be held from 12noon to 3pm and feature seven women, each of whom will preach a sermonette on one of seven first sayings or "utterances" after the resurrection:
"Who are you looking for?"; "Don't be afraid"; "What are you concerned about?"; "Peace be with you"; "Go into the world"; "Have you caught any fish?" and "Wait for the gift." The women include Minister Doris Loftin of Pleasant Rock Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Tracey Davenport of Harundale PC, Rev. Dr. Phyllis Felton of Madison Ave. PC, Rev. Deborah McEachran of Hunting Ridge PC, Rev. Dr. Barbara Whipple of the Historic Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, Rev. Jennifer DiFrancesco of Second PC and The Rev. Kate Foster Connors of The Center.
I must confess I have a personal reason, as well as, a recent observation, for trying to bring these diverse women together to celebrate on Good Friday. I lost my mother two years ago and still receiving the ripples of faith and wisdom after her death. She was a profound woman in my life of extraordinary impact on the man I am today. As I thought about the first seven sayings each word reflected a message my mother had delivered to me over the course of her life.
My mother's first response to me was "Don't you cry little baby." She was first to respond, "let me walk you to school." She was the first to give me a sense of self, "Don't you forget you are not better than anyone else, but no one else is better than you." And, she was the first to simplify life for me, "You're a smart boy reading all those books but let me make it simple for you, "Do Right!"
Secondly, observing the recent "Woman's March on Washington, DC was an opportunity for powerful witness. The march on January 21, 2017 was a worldwide protest to advocate for legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights. Women were the first to respond to Donald Trump's statements -- some of which were regarded as "offensive" and "anti-women"-- following his inauguration as President of the United States. It
was a powerful witness.
My mother taught me that there is a certain dignity I must respect about woman. I shall never forget her words to me one day as a child that reminded me that despite her being my mother she also had a personal dignity that she demanded to be respected.
My mother for a time was employed as a maid and she worked in what I believed were homes of wealthy people. Often she would take me on the trolley car with her to these homes. The employers would call her "Ms. Willie." She would often have replied "Yes, Ma'am" or "yes, sir."
Coming home with her I decided to call her Ms. Willie."
I won't tell you what she did, however she said to me" "Michael, when I work for people I endure certain offenses, ignorance and tolerate it because I have five boys to raise including you. "You never have the right to call me 'Ms. Willie." "I'm your mother!"
I will always be mother to you.", but you know what? "You just lost that right today." The rest of the day my name to you is Mrs. Willie Alzena Moore!
"You got it?" I said yes Momma, I mean yes "Mrs. Willie Alzena Moore."
On Good Friday we will recognize diverse woman as first responders to the tomb of Christ. The women found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They realized then that Jesus had risen from the dead, just as he promised. They also knew that they had been the first to hear the news of his resurrection.
I invite you to attend. I invite you to come and listen.
May God bless you and your families in this time of Lent.
Knox Presbyterian Church
will sell fish dinners for $15 each following the event; and, an offering will be collected to raise financial support for
Acts 4 Youth's Shine into Womanhood, an educational program for young girls. Additional information about the
"7 First Sayings" will be published later on the Presbytery's website.