Pastor’s sermon touches on unjust killings of black men

Pastor Omar L. Dykes prays during alter call for the safety of young black men across the nation on Sunday, Aug. 7.

Pastor’s sermon touches on unjust killings of black men
August 11
04:15 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The focus of the nation has been fixated on the recent killings of unarmed black men at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve. Some choose to keep quiet as to not offend while others speak on what they feel is just.

Pastor Omar L. Dykes of St. John C.M.E. Church is the latter.  His sermon on Sunday, Aug. 7, touched on the wrongful killings of the young black men and related them to the unjustified crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

He said he was inspired to write this sermon after reading “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James H. Cone. The acquittal of the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray also spurred his interest on the topic.

Gray, 25, died in Baltimore police custody in April 2015. He sustained a fatal neck injury while in custody. Although several officers were charged in his death, none were convicted. On July 27, prosecutors dropped all charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with Gray’s death.

“What concerns me is we only hear of the cases that are being reported, and there are other cases that are not reported,” said Dykes.  “What is it for me to be the voice of the voiceless, those who have suffered and been oppressed if I don’t call for accountability for those who perpetuate the issue of shooting black bodies?  I also want to give hope to those who feel like they have no voice and say what we are experiencing, Jesus experienced it as well.”

Dykes stated that he knows sometimes people have trouble identifying with Jesus when they think of him as the “Son of God” or the “Holy Child.”  He said when black brothers hear that Jesus was falsely accused, they can identify with him because they either know someone who has or have been falsely accused themselves.  He doesn’t want people to forget the humanity of Jesus as that is a way we can all relate to him.

During his sermon, he spoke to the congregation about black lives seemingly being targeted by the police officers.  He told everyone that he was bothered by lack of justice for the loss of those black lives.  He said he was further disturbed by the fact that “police officers who are called to protect and to serve are more protected than the ones they are serving.”

He followed by saying, “It seems a white life seems to be more expensive, more costly than black life and black life is cheap as if we can replace it.”  Before ending the service, Dykes held a special altar call to pray for the lives of the young black men in America who seem to be targeted.

Dykes wants conversation to take place to some-how reconcile the distrust between African-Americans and the police department.  He says it starts with reconciliation and officers confessing to say “We are wrong.”  He wanted to convey that not all officers are bad but wants acknowledgment that there are those who commit wrongful deeds.

“I think that reconciliation with the confession of police officers seeing our humanity, they confess that we are people and that our lives do matter,” Dykes went on to say.

It was first Sunday and he usually preaches a sermon about the Crucifixion or the Resurrection because of the Communion. He felt preaching this sermon was a call from God.

“The point is, my voice has to be lent to offer up the Word of God, on behalf of God, to God’s people.  I wanted the city of Winston-Salem to know there is a prophetic voice. I’m not the only one, but I want them to know there is another voice.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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