Page 20 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

20 Ducere Est Servire: THE LEADERSHIP JOURNAL OF DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY Misgivings on the part of Black people does not suggest White preachers have nothing at all to say to a Black audience. A key element to Taylor’s preaching was compassion, an important characteristic of prophetic preaching. Texts such as Jeremiah 8:1-30 and 18-22 show how the Old Testament prophets often bore the hard message of judgment, but their words flowed from a heart broken over the spiritual condition of those to whom they preached. Moreover, it was common for the prophet not to view himself as a bystander, but as a participant in Israel’s waywardness, as seen in Isaiah 6:5. In “The Time of Thy Visitation,” lifted from Luke 19:14-44, it is clear that Taylor saw with eyes of possibility all that America was ordained to be, but he also saw where she had fallen short. Still, it was clear he left room for hope as he declared: America is a great and worthy dream of human dignity and equality beyond the accidents of race, breed, or birth. America represents in its democratic assumptions a brave new venture in the faith that people of diverse backgrounds and differing creeds can live together in harmony and mutual respect. This, I believe, is a God-given concept which is basic to the American contract with history. How often we have scarred the dream and violated the high destiny to which God has called this land. Now and again we gallantly moved forward toward the fulfillment of our destiny as a free and equal society. But we have too often fallen back, as if the destiny were too high for us. In all of these shifting scenes of stress and strain which mark our history, the God of the nation is testing us and sifting us before his judgment seat. He is examining our willingness to test in our commitment to freedom whether, in Mr. Lincoln’s words, a nation “so conceived and so dedicated” can long endure. If we but knew the things which belong to our peace.19 One detects the prophetic tone in Taylor’s statement. He does not overlook fault. He holds listeners accountable for their actions, but he does so with compassion. Taylor does not neglect the fact that America has failed to live up to her destiny. There is a gaping chasm between what God intended for America to be, and what she has allowed herself to become. Still, her fate is not final, God’s hand of grace has not lifted completely, if she would but repent. Furthermore, Taylor did not distance himself from the nation standing under the scrutiny of God but included himself as one that shares blame for the present quandary.