The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago completed his two-day speaking engagement as the kick-off for the Lenten Speaking Series at Calvary Church downtown last Friday (Feb. 15).
Moss spoke on "Purification." He drew his text from the third chapter of Malachi. Here's an excerpted version of the text:
"I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me....For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap..."
Moss referred to the movie "Flight" and the flawed-pilot character Whip Whitaker played by Denzel Washington. Whip, he said, was "a high-functioning" addict – the drug of choice being alcohol.
Blessed yet broken, said Moss of Whip, pointing out that Denzel/Whip had to go through a process of detoxification on the way to purification.
"The 'Church' is called to purify herself," said Moss, noting that there is so much for church folks to speak up about.
"We are called to speak up for those that are broken, to speak up for those that are poor, to speak for the widow and to speak for the orphan," Moss said in his characteristic, rapid-fire cadence.
"And when we speak up, there will be a transformation, not only in our church, not only in our neighborhoods, but also in our nation. God is calling people to prophetic purification."
There is a great need, said Moss, "to speak up and open your mouth and let people know that you do not have to get through your experience by yourself."
Moss, who holds full dual ordinations in the United Church of Christ and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, has degrees from Morehouse College, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary.
His publications include "Redemption in a Red Light District" and "The Gospel Re-Mix: How to Reach the Hip Hop Generation."
Trinity is the one-time church home of Barack Obama prior to his election as president. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose sermons were heavily scrutinized during then-Sen. Obama's first presidential bid, is pastor emeritus at Trinity.