This morning I am sending out to you a 2.0 different version of the reflection I had originally written last Sunday evening. I write and pray with such sadness in my heart, and I hear the psalmist’s cry: “My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1) It’s not “me” who has been forsaken but it is “us” as a nation and culture whose consistent and narcissistic tendencies in going it alone and without our God has made me feel waves of both sorrow and anger.
A rich kid professional quarterback started a national conversation about race by an act of civil defiance by calling attention to himself (as pro athletes tend to do) but also raising more serious questions: the questions of race, police tactics, the ever widening chasm between those with power and those without.
A friend in this parish told me only a few weeks ago that there would soon be another shooting of an unarmed black man. Sadly, he was spot on. It has happened yet again! Only this time, we have the video. This time we don’t need “experts” from the left or the right to speculate as to why this happened. We see the video for ourselves. Either a failure in training, a failure of character, or maybe a deep seeded suspicion or a sinful hate for an African American man who was doing nothing illegal led to a the death of an innocent.
No more excuses! No more ignoring the depths of crisis that racial misunderstanding and hatred are (and have been) creating. That slaughtered man could have been your dad or your brother or your child – if you were born the “wrong” color. And it is too long past the time when we should have gotten on our knees, repented of our hard heartedness, seek the forgiveness of our God and of all who have suffered from such abuses. If we do not call the abusers to account, if we do not begin to embrace each other as brothers/sisters, (“love one another AS I have loved you” – Jesus commanded) then I truly fear for the chaos and darkness that we are choosing for ourselves and the consequences we would deserve from a just God (“who hears the cry of the poor”).