Mourning Message of Freedom


By Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, EdD

As Black Methodists for Church Renewal, we stand in solidarity with Bishop Jonathan Holston and the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and with our brothers and sisters of the A.M.E. church as we mourn the loss of the nine faithful ones who prayed together as their last act in this life.

Evil has a way and will make a way where there seems to be no way for it to persist or to pervade any deeper or greater than it has in the past. Yet, in Charleston, South Carolina where the heralded Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church stands as the oldest A.M.E. church in the South, nine prayer warriors are dead. Evil found a way to trespass upon sacred ground for the sake of taking lives. We also take this time to examine our own complacency, apathy and appetite for the sensational amidst the various tragedies that keep trying to get our attention to root out the sin of racism, classism and bigotry of every kind that is prevalent among us.

Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
Turn me around, turn me around
Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
I'm gonna keep on a-walkin', keep on a-talkin'
Marchin' down to freedom land

Some would have us believe the freedom songs are dead and irrelevant in our current context, but I believe them to be just as powerful now as ever.

We are truly fighting against principalities and powers and all forms of wickedness in high and low places. Only some of us are kept out and down by the laws of the land, while others assume superiority because of educational, ecclesial or economic attainment. The truth of the matter is none of us are free until all of us are free. We must revive the freedom songs and sing them like there is no tomorrow, for there will not be a tomorrow without a today filled with hope, promise and expectations that spur imagination and inspiration to step out, stand up and speak on the things that matter to people who are bound. Who is bound? All of us are bound to the stereotypes, ignorance and impact of all forms of evil that dominates our laws, our polity, our conversation and our many reasons for inaction.

For those who are actively fighting for change and you pray for peace each day, thank you for leading the way. For those who contribute to causes and For those who are actively fighting for change and you pray for peace each day, thank you for leading the way. For those who contribute to causes and organizations that work for justice and equity in the world, thank you. For those who do what you can to increase your own and other’s knowledge about policies, attitudes and behaviors that kill the human spirit, thank you. For those who hum the freedom songs of old and draw strength to face each day, thank you. For those who will take on any of the aforementioned actions that can build your capacity for good in the world, thank you. For those who will closely monitor the BMCR (www.bmcrumc.org) and the South Carolina Conference (www.umcsc.org) websites for follow-up actions and activities for the purpose of doing something to advance the effort to eradicate racism, thank you.

For those who are willing to consider sitting in silence and in memory of those who lost their lives and their families, thank you. Whatever you do, don’t let your something amount to nothing.

“…keep on a-walkin', keep on a-talkin' marchin' down to freedom land!”