But my situatedness as a Black man in this country has not, and will not, allow me to forget Ferguson. Ferguson was a watershed moment in my life and in my vocation as a priest. Ferguson made clear to me that the Church has no authentic voice if it is not a voice that demands justice for the oppressed. Ferguson made clear to me that Jesus means nothing if he is not found on the margins of our common life, with those crushed and suffocating under the stifling weight of empire, those whose backs are against the wall. Ferguson made clear to me that I am nothing and that my priestcraft is worthless if I am not creating disciples who are passionate about justice in the world and leading a worship that inspires and empowers people towards those ends. Ferguson changed everything.
Hell is when you are suffering and when you are left alone. Hell is when the hungry are not fed, when the thirsty are not given anything to drink, when the stranger is not welcomed, when the naked are not clothed, when the sick and the imprisoned are not visited, when the depressed are not cared for, when the oppressed are not liberated, when the victims are not vindicated. If righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne, then where there is no righteousness and where there is no justice, there is only Hell.