I am almost overwhelmed with sorrow today.
I do not wish to discuss how different groups on either side of the spectrum may, or may not, have made use of, or sought to make use of the events in Cleveland, Ferguson, or New York; or by the (almost uncontested) reports that our government sanctioned torture of other human beings in ‘black sites’ around the world.
What grieves me is that these things happened. Among my friends and in the congregations I have served are good men and women who are part of each of the groups whose service and dedication has been besmirched by these actions. These are courageous men and women of honor and integrity in whose hands I would put my life without batting an eye. I weep that they will be, in some people’s minds, lumped in with those whose actions fail to show that character.
I tremble when I think of youth in churches I have served, or the children of friends, who it is easy to imagine being killed while ‘just goofing’ with a pellet gun. Young boys with voices that haven’t even begun to crack, whose height, or size, or lack of good sense could make them a casualty….except that their color might provide them that second of thought before someone went their most lethal option.
While working in prisons and residential treatment programs I have been part of situations where the restraint of out of control individuals was called for. I know how scary it can be. I also know that it can be done without traumatic injury or death to those involved.
When did our most lethal options become our first choice? When did we chose to “stain our nations honor,” as John McCain said, by using techniques we abhor and have condemned in others.
Hosea in chapter 8:7-10 speaks of those who have “sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” In this case it is because they sought safety in making inappropriate political alliances. But are the ‘alliances’ we make with approaches to dealing with conflict and aggression any better? Any different? Can we leave the political spinning aside long enough to grieve, to mourn, perhaps to repent?
At Advent I hear the words of Hope. That there will be a ‘Great Reversal’ in which the powerful are brought low; the poor will be fed; the lion and lamb will lie down together, and “none shall make them afraid in all my holy mountain.”
I believe that day will come. I believe we are called as God’s people to work for that day as “laborers together with God.” I do….I really, really do.
But today I am almost overwhelmed with the sorrow of where we are. Christ have mercy.