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Moss: election of Barack Obama
is 'in between' promise and victory

Denver, November 13, 2008 -- The Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, brought the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service to its feet with his rousing sermon on race in America.

Moss, who succeeded the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as pastor of the church, alluded to the media frenzy involving Wright because of his relationship with President-Elect Barack Obama, who resigned his membership at Trinity amid the controversy.

"I am happy and thankful the election is over," Moss said. "We no longer see cameras hanging out of the balcony."

Moss compared the Obama's historic election to the succession of leadership from Moses to Joshua in Joshua 1:1.

The election was "a very powerful moment, a very unique moment," Moss said. "But it was also a very dangerous moment." 

"What is unique about this moment," he said, "is the reaction around the world. As I watched brothers and sisters in Obama, Japan shout for joy about the new president, I saw cheering Aboriginals in Australia, people in France and Germany, people in Israel shouting 'Barack,' which means, praise the Lord."

But Moss said he was also disturbed by the reaction because this is a dangerous moment in history.

"Pundits said now all of this racism is over," he said. "Every station we turned to said as a result of a person kissed by natureís sun in the Oval office, racism is over. We are in a post wilderness moment -- but we have yet to move into the promised land. And the most dangerous thing an individual can do is confuse the promised moment with the promised land. It is in the in-between that we must be careful."

One of the most dangerous times in history is to live in the in-between moment, Moss said. "Joshua has the youth and wherewithal to step into the Promised Land, but you canít celebrate when an individual crosses over. You have to make sure that those who donít have the same economic or education level are able to cross over into the promised land. Success is not defined individually, it is defined collectively."

Like Joshua, Barack Obama owes his success to the courage and determination of generations who went before him," Moss said.

"Living in a Joshua moment means we should never forget the Moses generation. This moment did not just fall out of the sky, this did not just happen overnight. There were people of the Moses generation who sacrificed so that this moment would be possible. As collective history, a history of struggle. We stand on the shoulders of those who have allowed us to be where we are."

"We as a community of faith cannot be satisfied so long as 40 million are without healthcare, so long as we see a drop-out rate of 50 percent, so long as there is illiteracy," he said. "We cannot be satisfied as a church 'til maybe one day when we will see justice role down like a river, beat our swords into plow shares, see lions living with lambs, know that every child who is hunger can be fed, when we can literally be a perfect union. There is a crown above out heads that one day we will be tall enough to wear."

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228,

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