Last week I attended a special World Aids Day service at The Vision Church of Atlanta that was organized by Elder Paris Ealey. I expected the event to be sad as we reflected on the lives of our brothers and sisters who we have lost to HIV/AIDS.
Needless to say I experienced a myriad of emotions during the service, at times I was sad to the point of tears, other times I became so "full" I wanted to get up and dance, and I even acquired a new sense of hope for the future, for God's plan for my life, and ultimately a cure for the virus that has become the biggest challenge of my generation.
I had heard about the dynamic preaching of Elder Paris Ealey but I had yet to experience him in action. What I heard on this night was a word from God to his people through Elder Ealey. Particularly a group of people who have been abused, silenced, and demonized by the Black church.
Almost a week later and I'm still trying to find the words to describe what I experienced the night I heard him speak. I can only say that the words that came from his mouth somehow became "shut up" in my bones. It was the truth, plain and simple. He has an amazing gift for telling stories and for telling them in a way that the well-versed christian as well as the religious novice can understand, by using contemporary songs woven into his message.
I managed to turn my focus away from him for a second to remember that I had my digital camera in my pocket, so I was able to record the last 10 minutes of his sermon. I challenge you to allow yourself 10 minutes out of your day to watch this clip and to hear something different coming from a Black minister's mouth, the word minus the homophobic spin.
"Death is a requirement but living is an option"- Elder Paris Ealey