“But let justice roll down like waters,and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” – Amos 5:24
I need to speak truth to the state of our spirits and nation in light of this week, and it cannot wait until Sunday. Justice isn’t rolling like waters.
Images are one of the most powerful communication tools we have. This week the images flooding my mind are those that cause fear and heartbreak and anger all at once. I don’t know whether to weep or be angry, so I do both. Images of a CNN reporter who is handcuffed as his credentials hang visible from his quarter zip sweater. In his eyes there is wisdom, resilience, but not disbelief. As if this is to be expected. It is not. Or at least it is not from the eyes of someone who isn’t feared by the color of my skin. There are more images. Images of all colors of people, brown, black and white, holding signs in the air. “No justice. No peace.” “Say his name: George Floyd.” “I can’t breathe.” “Black Lives Matter.” A white woman is hand cuffed. A black man is pepper sprayed. People raise both arms in a posture that communicates don’t shoot. Police officers stand atop roofs with projectile tear gas launchers and sniper rifles. I flip through the pictures and the captions. People crying. People praying. People yelling. Minneapolis. Los Angeles. Colulmbus. Memphis. New York City. A young boy not much older from my own children sits atop his father’s shoulders. He has a Minecraft t-shirt on and he holds a sign that says “I can’t breathe.” And I can’t either. Not because I am the victim of racism but because I am part of the system. We are living in a country where this should not happen. We proclaim a faith where this is not okay. We serve a church that was founded on taking a strong stance against the sickness of racism and the many overt and covert ways that it exists in our society today. Our ancestors took a stand against slavery. We must do more. As white people, as parents, as justice-seekers, as followers of Jesus, as Americans. We must open our eyes to see the images that might haunt us. We must confront the realities that are at stake in a world already reeling from fear and death and unknown. Our first 49 members that came together because their faith propelled them to speak truth and justice compel us to also speak truth and to work for justice. It’s 173 years later but we still have work to do. Together.
Prayer: God we are heartbroken and angry but unified in your Spirit. Guide us in your wisdom to do justice, seek kindness, and walk humbly with you.