Y’all still standing?
What a couple of weeks this has been. Or perhaps longer. In quarantine, time stands still and yet somehow, we’re nearly half way through June.
I have been sitting here for days (weeks?), trying to put words together to say something about the social unrest, about the searing wounds opened and bleeding across this nation, something to the weight of the moment. If for no one else other than my future self, to capture what is swirling in my head and heart.
Turns out, for a verbal processor like me, that is harder than I expected.
What do I say in the midsts of so much pain, anger, and confusion? So much of which I cannot relate to first hand, but also, so much of which those close to me know all too well. I have black brothers, black friends, white mama friends with black babies and this is the only thing I’ve found to be consistently true – they all have different stories, different ways they have experienced or been spared discrimination, hatred, pain, and racism.
As do all my friends whose shades of skin and ethnicities vary from mine.
Skin colors may look like they can be grouped together but stories are still unique. So to try and lump their voices as one, to make assumptions about this group or that group is neither true nor fair.
It erases the voices and the stories that may not fit the main narrative or even the preferred one.
I do not want to add to the noise in order to be given a social “check mark” of appearing to stand on the right side of an issue. An issue which is daily changing and morphing away from the original cry against a clear injustice.
I have been quietly watching so that if I speak, it is from a place of compassion, humility, and thoughtfulness. I’m not completely confident that even now, as these words are blinking across your screen, that I’ve accomplished this.
I want my words to be meaningful, to add to the conversation, not simply be another voice screaming in the wind.
I have wanted to let those with experience, that have history, that have themselves lived this, to be the voices to which people are listening. I don’t want to ‘virtue signal’ to make sure people know I’m not racist or that I care, without thinking through what I’m saying, the impact my words could have, where I’m pointing people, and more importantly, what I am doing.
Too often these issues get hijacked, leaving us feeling that if we’re not for the dominant narrative, then we must instinctively be against the issue.
But before there was division, there was unity. Unity that a man should never die that way, no matter his crime, his skin or his background. And wisely remember that the loudest voices are not always, by default, the most truth-filled.
I cannot begin to parse through all that is being shared, to review each headline or article and determine its accuracy or truth. There was a time, I’m told, when the news was the facts of the situation and you were left to determine your perspective on it. Now, the news is opinion and each of us must decide if we agree with the perspective while sifting for the facts.
Looking specifically to those that profess to be People of the Cross, what I find glaringly missing from the reactions of many is a firm planting in Christ as our starting place. A humble persistence to point back to the Cross, where we find not only the root but also the resolution of all our brokenness.
The worst of humanity lies in Me.
And in You.
We are a broken and flawed people. Any of us could be the cop with a deadly knee, or a man writhing on the ground begging to breathe. Until we see ourselves in both, we will never be able to bring justice to either.
Reconciliation happens NOT when we bend our knee to another person or when we raise our fist in angry solidarity. Reconciliation that remains begins when we each bend our knees in humble surrender to the One who gently exposes and forgives all our sin. Only then can we move into relationships with repentance, forgiveness, humility, and healing.
Because how do you lead people towards wholeness of body and soul and city if you don’t begin with Christ and end at the Cross? You’ll have rage and hurt and a host of wordly answers that keep failing us because you’re treating the symptoms but missing the cancer.
As People of the Cross, what we can offer the world is what we are FOR – Not a party, not a political stance, but a Christ-centered posture of humility, of celebrating those we don’t always understand because they too are walking miracles and image-bearers reflecting our great God.
We are FOR humanity.
We are FOR the unity of the body.
We are FOR the wonder and celebration of the different shades of of our brothers and sisters.
Just as we are FOR the bodies that in this life appear less whole, those that struggle with disabilities or mental challenges, or the many shades of babies in the womb desperate for a chance to live.
We are FOR the dignity of every person in this beautiful kaleidoscope of humanity.
Because we know that each person is not an accident, not a result of random action through time but an intentional creation made with a purpose by a Holy and Loving God. A God who sent His son to wade into the muck of humanity to rescue us when we didn’t even know we were drowning.
Most importantly, we are FOR the extravagant grace that is so desperately needed by all of us and will only be found in Christ. That is the only thing that has ever changed a person and turned a nation towards wholeness.