To meet newsletter deadlines, I typically choose sermon topics & titles 4-6 weeks in advance. When I looked ahead to July 14, I knew we would be nearing a verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Trayvon Martin. Since I serve in Central Florida, not far from Sanford, I picked a related topic, so that if needed I could quickly adapt.
Little did I know how close the verdict would come to the time of the sermon.
My advertized topic was Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
All week, I followed the precedings and thought about Sunday. The jury began deliberations Friday afternoon. Saturday evening, I went to a small group dinner at the home of congregation members. One person was there without her partner, a photographer working the case. I followed the twitter feed of a congregation member reporting on the case. Just as we were about to break for the evening, we learned there was a verdict and turned on the TV.
I am surprised how surprised I was given that I had had lots of time to consider the 3 possible outcomes.
I’ll have more to say, but for now, Here is a link to the resulting sermon that merged the planned topic with the acquittal.