Guidry Jones calls worshipers at General Synod to risk all for God

Guidry Jones calls worshipers at General Synod to risk all for God

June 27, 2013
Written by Barb Powell

On the edge, the Rev. Neichelle Guidry Jones of Trinity UCC in Chicago will tell you, is the place where the Holy Spirit confronts us with those inconvenient, uncomfortable truths. And then expects us to risk it all in those edgy places.

On the edge, at risk, in danger, all scary places. But don’t worry, she told the Friday evening worship at General Synod 2013, God has got you covered!

The edge, the margins, the “out” is a place Jones knows well as the associate pastor to young adults at Trinity. “On the south side of Chicago, we live on the desperate edge. In Chicago, more people died by violence in 2012 than died in the war zone of Afghanistan.

“Most of us just want a sense of peace, but the Holy Spirit has never been obligated to give us peace.” Quite the opposite, Guidry Jones said, as she traced the way Jesus was pushed to the edge in Luke 4:14-30 by his hometown folks in Nazareth who were filled with rage by his words.

“They were relieved that God sent someone else — Jesus — to work on the edge. They loved what he had to say about the work, but they didn’t like what he had to say about them. He started out with the word ‘truly.’ That word ‘truly’ can be quite problematic.”

Words, she said, are good and powerful, but deeds require desperation. “Jesus never intended to give a word without a deed. God is indeed still speaking, but when God speaks, God is obligated to work. God is requiring all-night filibusters to take place in legislatures to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. . . God doesn’t speak without acting.”

It’s the acting, the deed, the doing that’s the hard part, she said. “God is still on the job! We are called to be about it. Willing to move closer to the edge, to be anointed by the truth.

“I am willing to go. Here I am, God, send me!”

Guidry Jones looked to her own grandmother for the clearest vision of the actions of the Holy Spirit. “She told me that the Holy Spirit will show you what you can’t see with your own eyes. The Spirit will show you when things are just not right.

“And when something is just not right, the Holy Spirit expects you do to something about it. It’s that edge. Wake up and do something about it.”

Just move to the edge and risk it, she said. “God will not bring you to it if God will not bring you through it.”

True to her promise that Trinity is a “black church with Pentecostal proclivities,” Jones moved across the stage in her brilliant red robe waving a red scarf, offering the Holy Spirit’s promise, “I’ve got you covered.”

“I want you to walk humbly because I’ve got you covered. Let your light shine because I’ve got you covered,” she crooned. “Despite your fears, despite your enemies, I’ve got you covered.”

“I love you. I will not leave you. I’d die for you.

“Don’t you know? I’ve got you covered.”

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