Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (3) – Final
Text 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou
Text 2: Luke 1:39 -55
Antithesis 1: Human Pride
Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done.
Humility is accepting the gifts and using them to praise and serve God.
God promised Abraham to be merciful to God’s people forever (Genesis 22: 16-18). Christ’s birth fulfilled this promise, and Mary understood.
The caged bird experiences Colonialism, imperialism, heterosexism, materialism, sexism, classism, and racism; All are noises of oppression that people face today in a grossly unjust societal context that lacks the proclamation of the anointed sound. It is no secret that the Political Economy orchestrates oppression. The noises of oppression are unpleasant and annoying. Sadly, the caged birds have forgotten their vows of solidarity and servitude. They are no longer instrumental but sounding brass and tinkling symbols temporarily misplaced melodies of justice, chords of peace, and the harmony of equality. The defenseless, denounced, discounted, dismantled, and discredited need our symphonic prayers and actions.
The current state of affairs allows us to be isolated, criticized, demoralized and dehumanized under the tyranny of systemic pharaohs. Particularly for black and brown people, we have succumbed to the fret noise of sex trafficking and organ harvesting (among other threats such as forced labor, inadequate housing, and healthcare). We are plagued with nooses strategically camouflaged by police (the klan in blue), politricks, prestige, poverty, power, and prejudice. We listen to the mumbled, muted, and muffled chaos of an immoral political and economic social structure that turns a deaf ear, thus, growing more unjust with each passing day.
In his book “A Colony in a Nation,” Chris Hayes describes a “nation” of white Americans who see in themselves complete individuality except in one way: They are an organic part of the national body. The “colony” is the imported other, the virus that exists inside the American body but is not of it, and it is viewed solely as a collective. The colony’s members have no individual traits, and they are an amorphous menace, and the nation regularly acts to police the colony and contain it. By depicting the colony as collectively violent, criminal, and scary, it can be removed at any time — with those learned stereotypes as justification and with the police as allies in keeping the colony under control. To be white in America is to assume, with total self-confidence and little afterthought, the personal ownership of public spaces. To be white in America is to have the confidence to say, without a second thought: this space, this neighborhood, this city, this county, this country is mine.
Denying, belittling, or ignoring your gifts instead of thanking God for them and using them for His Glory.
The corruption and exploitation of authority and elites in society dehumanize humans. The anointed sound only breaks the walls of corruption, exploitation, and dehumanization. The decibels of the sound should be so anointed that liberating the oppressed, releasing the captives—breaking the division of the walls between rich and poor, between men and women.
The sound of liberation will center on a conversion to the neighbor, the oppressed person, the exploited social class, the despised ethnic group, and the dominated country. Our call is to commit ourselves lucidly, realistically, and concretely to the liberation of the poor and oppressed. Anointed signifies one being tuned for the undertaking and called to it. It is time to drive out the unjust structures in the community and construct the socio-politico-economic corruption and exploitation in the nation. Our sound is our commitment to the oppressed, their struggle for liberation, and the down social barriers encrusted in customs and traditions and entrenched in social structures. Our sound is the chorus to those treated as non-persons: the poor and deprived, the outcast and the marginalized, the oppressed and the downtrodden, the sick, and those who do not count like children and women.
Spirituality of liberation will center on a conversion to the neighbor, the oppressed person, the exploited social class, the despised ethnic group, and the dominated country. Our sound of liberation should empower those oppressed by systematic structures in our society and labor to eliminate those cultural and social policies of corruption, exploitation, and dehumanization which cause oppression. The anointed sound should sing of Jesus that the psalmist declared the syllables were melodic to the hearing. The clarion song is:
Verse 1– we sound the alarm of spiritual, social, and political redemption to the poor and the disdained who are spoken of with contempt, constrained by the bonds of guilt and corruption, the unfair distribution of power and unequal resources, and denial of opportunities.
Verse 2– we proclaim the release of political captivity. There is a release from the noise of bondage, from the capitalistic prison of lack and not enough.
Verse 3– we apply the salve of redemption for vision. There is recovery from the figuratively and blinded eye closed to the maltreatment of others. We comprehend that where there is no vision, the people perish. We give action to our vision so that our words become verbs. We cancel the noise of discrimination against the disabled, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised. And we say receive your insight and foresight.
And together I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
I know He watches
I know He watches me
For I’m Chained to His will
Tied to His word
He has my life
I’m a prisoner of Christ
The cadences of Mary’s canticle call into question any traditional silencing of women’s voices, whether in scripture or throughout the tradition. Mary’s song is the prayer of a poor woman. The term for lowliness in Greek describes misery, pain, persecution, and oppression. Mary’s low-down self-characterization is not a metaphor for spiritual humility but is based on her social position. A young female, a member of a people subjected to economic exploitation by powerful rulers and afflicted by outbreaks of violence, she belongs to the poor. The second part of the Magnificat articulates the tremendous biblical theme of reversal, where lowly groups are defended by God while the arrogant end up losers. Proclaiming her song, Mary continues this deep stream of Jewish faith in the context of the advent of the Messiah, now taking shape within her.
The approaching reign of God will disturb the order of the world run by the hard of heart, the oppressor. Through God’s action, the social hierarchy of wealth and poverty, power and subjugation, is to be turned upside down. All will be well because God’s mercy, pledged in covenant love, is faithful through every generation. Rooted in the biblical heritage of Palestinian Jewish society, this is a revolutionary song of salvation whose concrete social, economic, and political dimensions cannot be blunted. People are hungry because triple taxes are exacted for Rome, the local government, and the temple. The lowly are crushed by the mighty on the thrones in Rome and their deputies in the provinces. Now, with the nearness of the messianic age, a new social justice order is at hand. Mary’s canticle praises God for the kind of salvation that involves concrete transformations.
Historically, women have played vital roles in biblical history, the proclamation of the Gospel, and the establishment and growth of churches. Yet they play second fiddle in the top leadership of some churches, at best, being second to men. Despite decades of human rights agitations and resolutions to protect women’s rights, gender policies still expose them to stressful working conditions, economic deprivations, and political/religious discrimination. They are often victims of terrorism that have led to the death of their husbands and children or displaced their families. The principle of human rights is universal and the foundation of international human rights law. This principle was first emphasized in 1948 in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and has since been echoed in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions.
The 1993 Vienna world conference affirmed the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of political, economic, and cultural systems. Biblical perspective on human rights is accentuated in the book of Genesis, Chapter One: Male and Female, God created human beings as equal partners.  Women’s history – economically, politically, and religious includes the study of the history of the growth (or decline) of women’s rights throughout recorded history. The millennium development goals summit in 2010 stated, “investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.” The world bank, at different forums, has shown that increasing women’s access to quality education, good jobs, land, and other resources contributes to inclusive growth, sustainable development, and long-term prosperity.
-  The “battle of Gender” is disobedience to the Will of God, as revealed in the Bible. The Bible teaches the full equality of males and females in the church, in the home, as well as in the general society through mutual respect and submission, e.g., Galatians 5:13, Romans 12:10. The Genesis creation accounts show that both male and female were created in the image and likeness of God, and were given the equal mandate to fill the earth and take responsibility for the rest of the earth – Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 1 and 2