taking the words of Jesus seriously

Five-thousand steps, 2.2miles. A man just shy of his 26th birthday stepped out into the sun and ran for the final time upon this earth. Five-thousand steps, 2.2miles. He encountered two men who tested positive for confederate COVID-1619. The disease is often asymptomatic and spreads through human contact, rhetoric, ignorance, and family relationship. Ahmaud Arbery—a man of potential—was attacked and infected with America’s most common and potent viral agent.

This virus alters the eyesight of the attacker, weaponizing the body, giving the illusion of blackness as a threat, making melanin appear as a weapon and any movement as potential danger. It took ten weeks for an arrest to be made due to the potency of this viral agent. It was necessary for a videotape to be released and pressure from prophetic voices to force the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to relieve the local Brunswick, Georgia Police of their duty in this matter.

Another live taken. Another public lynching. Another news story. Another act of recorded black death. It is disturbing our nation has become comfortable of weekly broadcast of black bodies falling to the ground. It’s become a an unsolicited primetime series that we all hope and pray will be cancelled from the collective consciousness of America’s civic memory. Five-thousand steps, 2.2miles.

Watch the full sermonic film by Rev. Otis Moss III, The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery, here. 

About The Author


Otis Moss III built his ministry on community empowerment and social justice activism. As senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problem of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic apartheid. Hailed as one of the “twelve most of effective preachers in the English-speaking world” by Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, he has been cited by Chicago Magazine as one of the city’s thirty most influential people. He is an NAACP Image Award recipient, award-winning filmmaker, poet, and professor of homiletics at Mercer University McAfee School of Theology. He is married to Monica Brown and they are the proud parents of two children.

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