Weeping As Jesus Wept

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

This week we stepped into a period of mourning, overwhelmed by a string of deaths that remind us again that we live in a world of injustice and sorrow.

As we worked to grieve the unjust killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of the police, we awoke this morning to the news that five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas, with seven more wounded. By dawn, our media had already shaped the narrative; fearsome and racially-charged commentary began to tear apart our national dialogue on racial justice, violence, and police accountability.

Racial violence is deeply rooted in the history of the United States.

We know that early colonizers in the United States enslaved people from the African continent. We know that the pain of black folks in our country and the rest of the world is due largely in part to the legacy of this slave trade. This history of colonization is one that catapulted our country into wealth, as American settlers profited greatly from black labor. And, even after slavery ended, we have not healed nor repaired this deep trauma, which remains encoded in our spirit and in our bodies. 

Instead, violence against people of color has continued in a number of ways as racism became embedded in our legal system with Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal” ideologies, and the then-legal horrific practices of black lynchings. Because of this history, racial violence impacts all citizens of the United States, especially people of color. We remain wounded.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV

Today, and in the coming days, we are called to show our solidarity with the people on the front lines of work intended to liberate all of us from the burdens of oppression. Today, and all days, we stand to open our mouths for the rights of all who are destitute. 

In particular, we recognize that today is a frightening day for black and brown people in the United States. Last night’s shooting in Texas will give those who fear the message of racial justice both license and ammunition to persecute people of color—who are always in fear for their lives. And, we already know that black and brown folks are infinitely more at risk for state violence than people who are white.

As we experience waves of shock, grief, helplessness, and fear amidst the violence of this week—we grasp for faith that might stabilize us in the midst of such great chaos. 

But how can we have faith in the midst of such death and despair?

We can start by praying—praying for strength, praying for understanding, praying for healing, praying for change, praying for forgiveness, and praying for the kind of peace that only time and faith can provide. When we pray, we are reminded that we are connected to something greater than ourselves. For it is in these moments of prayer, when we connect with our creator, that we are reminded as Christians to walk by faith even when we cannot see. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

And even when we are tested in our faith—that too is a testament to our relationship with God. Faith is not faith without doubt. We cannot rush to healing when do not know the anatomy of our pain; the grief that we have traveled. Let us allow for the multitude of feelings, a deluge of contradiction as we hold all that we have lost and all that we fear.

There will be those of us who will seek comfort even as we cannot imagine the infinite source from whence it pours. There will be those who are the very manifestation of comfort and ministry. And, let us also make space for those who would pause in doubt; for those who would are not yet ready to lift their eyes in prayer because of the weight of their yearning, their weeping in process.

Join us today as we lift up the pain of black folks who are always in mourning for lives lost. 

Join us today as we recognize that we are all in mourning, and we witness the pain and sorrow of all those who grieve when there is little else to do. 

When the world is disrupted, when the earth is still shaking—it is okay to weep as Jesus wept.

Photo by Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu

Comments (4)

Back up. We slaughtered the native people we found in America. We broke treaties. We stole. What "settlers" profited by slavery of black people? The Southerners who owned slaves were primarily from the propertied class of slavers from the Indies, Cuba, Haiti, and other Caribbean islands who moved to the states and continued doing what they had learned at their fathers' knees. You don't help the conversation about racism when you ignore American history and its roots in greed and class and colonialism.

As a Chippewa Native American I think many people forget how a whole people was systematically killed off or isolated by Europeans coming into the new world. Sadly, Trump and many like him continue that same kind of hate rhetoric today.

.... Who carry as we all do, fears and mistrusts... Let us all pick up the pace of healing and reconciling through dialogue -- no longer pretending that vestiges of racism is not embedded in all of us of all colors-- as is sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia and religious bigotry. May the Peace that passes all understanding find us all sooner not later. Amen

Those that are white are not as white as they think...for their lineage is also deeply rooted in diversity; whether it be an Irish, Italian, Polish, Russian and many other descendants who were also treated like garbage when they came to the great land of American who by the way has a huge gate keeper that states..."Bring us your poor, your hungry..." She doesn't say, bring us just your white.
When I was growing up, I was taught that America was the melting pot of race and diversity. That is what made up the great nation....diverse people coming together as one...UNITED. But still there is so much hatred over skin color, over sexual orientation...over things that should not matter to others.
Why does it offend anyone if your neighbor is black, Asian or Latin? Why should it offend anyone if I choose to share my life with a same sex partner. Don't we all want the same things in life....Happiness, Love, Harmony?
It is a shame where this country is headed and that is destruction. We have not come so far as a progressive and open-minded people...this nation is still so rooted in hate! Far more hatred than in the 50's and 60's with the civil rights movement. It is a sad...sad truth, that this country is doomed because of the in-fighting. I say love your brother, your sister, your neighbor....see things through the lenses of love because we are all the same under God's umbrella. What we need is what we lack the most...LOVE.

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