There’s something ironic about this pandemic we are in. The social isolation people are now experiencing is an exceedingly small fraction of the isolation black people walk through every single day. We shelter in place mentally and physically. Each day we feel isolated by our experiences. We hurt, we are castigated, we are not being heard but are told to be silent by the forces that continue to take us out of this world.
Yesterday my son and I were in the kitchen having a conversation when, in my suburban home, an unfamiliar sound pierced through the walls of my brick house. We looked at each other wondering if the kids were up from their naps but quickly realized the sound was coming from outside. A white man was in an altercation with our white female neighbor which resulted in the police being called. From our vantage point standing in my front yard, we witnessed a cop PEACEFULLY talking to my neighbor. No arrests or deaths, just cordial conversation, and a parting of ways. My neighbors were kept alive and last night they slept well with their families. After viewing the exchange between the police and my neighbors, I ushered my adult black children back into my home, not wanting to give anyone a reason to accuse us of a crime that could ultimately result in our lives being taken. This may sound rather dramatic, but it is our sad reality. I’m sick of it, tired of it and repulsed by it!
Police brutality and militarized tactics resulting in the murder of people of color goes unpunished. Only God will vindicate us. The system has failed us time after time. When Black lives are systemically devalued by society, our outrage justifiably insists that attention be focused on Black lives.
Our faith’s teachings tell us that each person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) which means we have value and worth. Juxtaposing this with our current client, I must ask, “do black lives really matter?” This is an obvious truth based on scripture, but this has not been the experience for many black people. It has us crying out to God even more, with pounding hearts and uncontrollable tears. We’re left wondering, like his Son on the cross, “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?”
Jesus felt forsaken in that moment of anguishing pain. He did no wrong against the ones who crucified him. He cried out for help from His daddy, just as we are crying out for justice for our murdered brothers and sisters!
Jesus models for us how God loves justly and how his disciples can love publicly in a world of inequality. I’m choosing to love those who hate me and my black brothers and sisters. I’m angry, I’m hurt, and I’m broken.
My God, my God, please vindicate us.