Citing biblical passages that include fruit trees, vineyards and fig trees, Blackmon drew on her own childhood memories as well as the parables of Jesus.
Comparing people to a fig tree, which takes times to cultivate, she said: “Like the fig tree, they will be judged according to how productive they are with the opportunities they have been given by God, who is the vineyard owner.”
She also asked a key question: “How might we share in the prosperity, wellbeing and security that God intends for all of creation?”
This question is relevant for the whole world and all people, she said, expressing concern that, among refugees in Ukraine and elsewhere, people of color are not receiving equal consideration or care.
“Justice means a safe place of refuge for all who are in harm’s way,” she said. “We live in a world where the wealth of God’s creation is concentrated in the hands of a few, and the resources of the earth are pilfered from the poorest and the darkest among us.”
What if we don’t speak up? “If we remain silent at a time such as this, deliverance will arise from some other place but we, my friends, will be lost,” she said. “Jesus stands at the door of everyone, and knocks, and hopes to gain entrance but also requires that we change, that we repent, that we do better.”
Through a confessional prayer, those gathered ask God’s forgiveness for the sin of racism. “We pray on this day for Christians and for people of goodwill that we will stand for the rights of all human beings regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, colour and gender,” the people prayed.