Oh, D and C. So much is going on around you. Thoughts like whiplash, yes and no and oh my and not again and Jesus be near.
Black lives matter. Live in defense of Black life, because life is precious, life is ordained, and life is joy.
Listen, read, fill in the narrative gaps, repent, rejoice, and remember that in the United States of America, we are each Israel and Egypt and Babylon and Rome and Massadah and Herod and the-Holy-Family-on-the-run and bewildered disciples and pushy crowds and Pharisees and Pontius Pilate and centurions and bystanders at the cross and the apostles hiding upstairs.
I keep putting police reform in the context of church reform. How numbers and reports and research and experiences all point to obviously necessary systemic reform. Policing must change to truly be of service. Of course it must! How many priests and pastors have been abusive but hidden away and protected, and how many others have been good stewards but publicly vilified because they participate in a system that has gone far astray from its stated mission of service and stewardship.
We are meant to create equity and justice for every member of our community – our neighbors, friends and strangers, different and alike – extending to each one the mercy, and grace which we also hope for ourselves. We must be wary of those who want us to ignore or deny that each person is the Imago Dei – for the ignorers and deniers are not friends of liberty.
Really though, if policing doesn’t dramatically change or disappear, we aren’t protecting our neighbors whose safekeeping is our responsibility. We’re aren’t being good stewards when we automatically treat each other like dangerous strangers. Because we’re made for each other – that is the greatest commandment – we’re supposed to do life together, in community, as one body.
These United States of America (where we live) are governed ONLY by the consent of their people. I do not consent to abuses of power by our police and our federal executive branch (they are OUR creations, after all). I do not consent to governance by anyone who believes that property is more important than people and that people are props, or that differences make any person less worthy than another. These dehumanizing attitudes threaten our community and our liberty.
If we are are to be divided (Matthew 10:34), let it be for the sake of speaking Truth, bringing Truth into our actions, making Truth our guidepost. The Truth that we are responsible for one another, for stewarding each person safely through this life, for making space for folks as they truly are and listening when they tell their story. And may we know that Truth is revealed only in part to each of us and there is Truth somewhere in every story. So, without listening to stories that aren’t ours, we can’t begin to approach the whole Truth.
Let us serve each other – for we are made to grow in community, to do life together – and let us do it justly. If one is left behind, we will search and retrieve them, then rejoin the other ninety-nine in safety. For each is as valuable as the other without exception. Full stop.
I love you, children. Daddy and I pledge to model service and offer you opportunities to serve, too.