It has been on my heart to write a post about the racial tension soaring around the States these days but unlike what usually happens there have been no words coming to me, only intense sadness and sorrow. Every time I start to think about it my mind gravitates to the picture of the white police officer calmly kneeling on the neck of that poor black man, George Floyd, ever so calmly killing him. What an image! And as hard as it is to look at, I am glad that the light has been so brightly shone on this latest example of racial injustice usually done in the shadows. Other images then come like Armaud Arbery jogging and being killed, as well as scenes of protests and riots with pain, sorrow everywhere. While the George Floyd incident is new I have been aware of racism all my life and everywhere I’ve been in this great country. I was in grade school when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was generating heat all around the country and in high school when Martin Luther King was shot. There were riots then with lots of conflict and blood shed, and they have surfaced on a regular basis since.
Yes, blacks have risen to the point where there have been blacks elected to power in everything from school board seats to President of these United States. But there is still that great divide where George Floyd and Armaud Arbery incidents demonstrate the severe distrust and a vein of racial injustice that is so damaging to our society.
I have heard and seen some wonderful sermons about the situation and how we as Christians are called to a ministry of reconciliation and are called to act in reconciliation. They are great, and need to be said. There is a lot of media attention and some good programming dealing with this. Like so many of you I am watching. But my prayer is that this will not just be another in a long line of racial injustices with the resulting both peaceful protests and rioting that will continue down the road for more generations.
But now is a time for mourning, and I am grieving. I think of the families of those poor people, and of widespread injustice, and my tears flow.
I am sure of this, this injustice is real, and cannot be swept away.
The leaders in our country from President Trump on down need to know as well as acknowledge that these injustices must be addressed whether answered out by new law, or existing laws enforced, and the example of reconciliation from all our leadership from top on down needs to be displayed. Yes, police practices everywhere must be reviewed as well as personnel.
With the COVID crisis both impacting our health and our pocketbooks what this country doesn’t need is another escalation of racial tension that is already marking 2020 as a multifaceted trauma year for this great country.
Black lives do matter! The Black lives matter movement needs to be acknowledged by all leadership from the White House down.
I heard two pastors talk about verses that hit their hearts about this crisis, and they touch mine as well:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (Jas 1:19 ESV)
The emphasis there is on the importance of listening, and now especially to those who are grieved. The second verse is our charge as Christians to share the pain and feel the hurt with those who hurt. It is a simple five words, but they are not always followed. It is certainly time now to:
Weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15b ESV)