Soon, the headlines and media coverage will turn to the next magnet. And soon, another frenzy will ensue. What will it be about? Who will it be about? The answer I do not know but the fact that we’ll move on is certain.
But some will stay. Not because they want to per se but because it’s the reality of their lives.
It’s not that I’m trying to be a downer or “that pastor” that keeps bringing up the issue of race. I could contend that race doesn’t exist. Or it shouldn’t. It’s a human construct. It was a gift from God to reflect His creativity, beauty, and diversity but as a result of our human fall, depravity, and sinfulness…it has been constructed for domination, exploitation, and separation.
As a result, it is sadly a part of our reality and will continue to be so – until that glorious Day when all things will be restored. But in the here and now, we must continue to labor through the consequences of the curse of that suspicion and separation.
Want an example? At the heart of the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin – for some – has been the issue of race: It’s existence or non-existence. And because it was deemed to be the latter, the jury ruled not Zimmerman not only not guilty but a victim. Our justice system – however fallible or infallible – has been administered and we must respect it.
But this is not my point. I have no ill will against the jury or against Mr. Zimmerman. I pray for him, his wife, and his family. I pray for his safety and well being. I long for the opportunity to speak God’s grace over his life if our paths were to ever cross. I really do.
My point is something all together different.
In our voyeuristic society, we have access to nearly everything…Snowden’s whereabouts excluded. It’s stunning and overwhelming at times. The GZ/TM was no different. If anything, even more so glorified and amplified with the intense media scrutiny.
As a result, so many people were talking about it and when the verdict was announced, it became apparent just how differently people followed the trial.
For many, it was an event. It was current news. It was a large Judge Judy episode on steroids.
And for others – especially in the African American community, it was something entirely something different:
In Trayvon, they saw a familiar story.
Perhaps, all too common of a story.
They saw a son, a husband, a nephew, or perhaps…even themselves.
This past Sunday, I spoken with several of my Black congregants and they were all shaken. Every one of them. Couple in near tears. One of them wrote me a brief email and shared these poignant words:
“…for me this hits super close to home as a black man who experiences variations of racial profiling on a regular basis in my life, along with the fact that Trayvon very easily could have been my teenage brother (who wears hoodies ALL the time and lives in a primarily white neighborhood) or it could have even been my own son. This is fairly emotionally close and raw and real for me.”
And I guess this is my challenge to my readers, supporters, critics, and stalkers.
For a moment, put aside your political views, your victories for the Stand Your Ground legislation, your aspirations to be a political commentator, or your gun carrying stances and…
Can we just shut up, listen, and mourn?
Can we just take some time to hurt and mourn with many of our Black brothers and sisters?
Can we take some time to hurt with many Black churches and communities?
With our black friends, co-workers, and neighbors, can we commiserate with them – however limited we may be in that commiseration?
For us – as Christians – if our Black brothers and sisters in Christ are hurting…If they are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ; And if we are truly the Body of Christ as we profess…can’t we just shut up, listen, and mourn with them? Can we possibly try to listen, hear, and capture a glimpse of why they are upset, concerned, anxious, worried, and even fearful?
Does the Scriptures not command us to “mourn with those who mourn?”
Someone sent me this “anonymous” letter. I do not know the author. It is merely a letter to George Zimmerman from “A black male that could’ve been Trayvon Martin.”
Is it a broad stroke? Is it too general?
But read it nevertheless.
Read it. Shut up. Listen.
My last exhortation for this post:
Please don’t reduce this story to a mere 24 hour social media frenzy.
Examine yourself. Count the costs.
Commit yourself to justice, reconciliation, and peacemaking. God invites and calls us to be agents of reconciliation to a world in need of much mending, healing, and grace.
We must take this call to heart.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20