Out of the depths I cry to you, O God. O God, hear my voice!
My focus is off this week. I’m still stunned by the murders in Charleston and searching for a way to make meaning in the midst of pain and bloodshed. During the days this week I’m helping out with a multi-church Day Camp. I’m also trying to plan worship for Pride weekend. I carry a heaviness that I cannot seem to shake.
If I’m totally honest what I carry is anger. I am angry that I live in a country where white supremacy exists and thrives enough to raise a child who believed it was right to kill nine people just because they were black. I am angry that I live in a country that blames innocent people simply because their skin is not white. I’m also angry that I live in a country that fails to recognize the rights of LGBTQIA people and sometimes blames them for the crimes committed against them. I’m angry that in the year 2015 we still act like skin color, sexual orientation, and gender identity are good reasons to devalue people.
And what fuels my anger is that Christians are a part of all this. I am a part of it myself. I’ve failed to see injustice when it’s right in front of me. I’ve made excuses for people’s violent, hateful acts. I’ve not always advocated for gun control, equity in our justice system, fairness in our education system, gay rights or trans rights. I’ve been passive, too. No more.
The Gospel story this week leads me to believe that something can be done by all of us. As Christians our first move ought to be seeking Jesus like Jairus did, like the bleeding woman did. They sought Jesus with the full expectation that he would heal them. Perhaps this is what Church is missing. Do we approach Jesus with the full expectation of healing?
In terms of racism and other forms of discrimination, it also means we must acknowledge our participation in them, our responsibility for them. There can be no healing without repentance. How could Jesus possibly grant new life when we are reluctant to admit that the old life is killing us? Many others have called for Christians to repent and seek to repair the damage done. I’ll add my voice to theirs. We need to repent and trust Jesus to lead us in the way of healing.
The problem is sorting out what repentance looks like.It starts with prayer, yet it does not end there. It starts with asking for forgiveness for all the ways that we have discriminated against others and for the ways in which we have passively allowed racist, discriminatory ways to continue. Then it means standing up, speaking out, and using the privilege we have to end the tolerance of racism and discrimination. It means paying attention to what Jesus taught about loving one another and then actually embodying that love. It means living in a way that might truly warrant forgiveness. Then, maybe, healing can begin.
We have work to do. We can no longer tell ourselves that the work of the Civil Rights Movement or the Gay Rights Movement is complete. We also can’t continue to tell ourselves that someone else will do the work that remains. Every voice is needed to put an end to the long legacy of racism. Every voice is needed to ensure equal rights for LGBTQIA people. Not one of us can afford to sit back and let things remain as they are. We have work to do.
From where I sit, we aren’t even close enough to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, much less respond to the call to new life. Let us move from this place.
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for God, my soul waits,
and in God’s word I hope;
my soul waits for God
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
RCL – Year B – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 with Psalm 130 or
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15, 2:23-24 or Lamentations 3:23-33 with Psalm 30
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Top photo from flikr. Bottom photo from pixabay. Used with permission.