Sunday, December 21, 2014

Come Back Soon

Today, I once again join those who mourn. Lives taken. Families suddenly without their loved ones. I pray with the families of officers Ramos and Liu.

I leave space because silence in the face of tragedy is necessary. Even Job's interlocutors weighted with him quietly for days.

I have no words. I probably shouldn't have even written these because I am expressing everything inadequately. Even as I read over this post, I know that I'm not writing all that I feel or think, or all that is probably right. Nevertheless...

More and more I am learning how to grieve. I've never been very good at it. Oddly, I am learning to grieve most by joining others in their grief. It is out of that grief that I am learning what I fear. And what I fear in this moment is escalation instead of proclamation. In the posts of various friends on both "sides," I sense a clenching, a stiffening up for a fight. And I am praying dearly that the fight does not escalate. And I am slowly realizing the limits of my own empathy. I realize that this is a fault in me. But there are places that I cannot yet go with friends who are on both "sides."

As for me --- and I can only speak for me and can neither recommend nor judge --- I want to pursue nonviolence. More and more. More and more.

I understand that we live in a violent world. But I want to hold out hope for one that is not. I am probably delusional. I am probably not being pragmatic. I am probably foolish. But I cannot let go of the desire. Because I hold out hope for this:

"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” - REVELATION 21

And I hold out hope that God doesn't just promise this for sometime in the distant future, but that God wants this deathless time to bleed into our present.

And it is out of my love for Jesus Christ --- who overturned tables and drove out with whips, but who also healed the ear of a soldier who was arresting him and went willingly to the cross --- that I grieve. It is out of this love that I proclaim loud and clear and unequivocally that Black Lives Matter and that we must take into account the continuing history that demonstrates that we are more likely to publicly mourn anyone else but a black person. That black victims of violence are more often demonized than eulogized. That most of the people utilizing their grief over the deaths of these officers to declare that police are being devalued were silent in the face of the death of twelve year old Tamir and seven year old Aiyana. I agree we must value those who serve, but I recognize now that all too often the lives of those they are meant to protect is not as valued --- which seems counterintuitive and counterproductive to me.

It is out of this love that I pray for the woman who was shot just as much as I grieve for the officers. It is out of this love that I am slowly learning to grieve for the wasted life of the deranged man who pulled the trigger yesterday. It is out of my love for Jesus that I am learning to love and grieve for those we would rather call criminals and thugs than to recognize their humanity. Because Jesus ate with sinners and died as a criminal, as someone deemed guilty, next to other criminals. It is out of this love that I also want to proclaim that the lives of these policemen matter.

But I am coming to recognize that what is at stake here is the truth that I must shout Black Lives Matter more loudly because fewer people are grieving the loss of black life than of the lives of these officers. So I will try to not equivocate, even though I feel called to empathize. And for myself, I will seek nonviolence and try to live so, though I realize that I have no real control over the actions of others and that there is anger and wickedness and disorder in me.

O God, save us. Come back soon, even though you've never really left. Where are you? Deliver us. Deliver us, O Lord.

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