Some days you just have to cry out in pain. This week has been filled with those moments as we passed 100,000 Covid19 related deaths. The New York Times listing of just 1000 names was numbing to the mind and the heart. One hundred thousand lives lost and counting. Covid19 is far from over as it rages across the nation, around the world, and in my state.
But Covid19 isn’t the only thing that is raging. Today, anger and resentment rages in response to one more senseless killing of a black man during an arrest. By now, the whole world has seen a Minneapolis policeman with his knee on the neck of a black man, who kept calling out, “I can’t breathe.” It went on for minutes as bystanders begged the policeman to get off the man. It went on past the time he was handcuffed. It went on and on and on, until he stopped breathing all together. Only then, only after the crowd pointed out that the man wasn’t moving, did the policeman stand up. Only then, did anyone check to see if George Floyd was all right.
Responding police officers wrote the incident up as a medical emergency during an arrest, as if some outside force had suddenly struck the man, instead of the willful disregard for human life. To their shame, three officers looked on and chose not to intervene. Three other men could have saved George Floyd’s life. So our community is in pain tonight. All of us are in pain. The black community is in boiling over pain. Those of us with white privilege are in pain, recognizing we cannot begin to experience the pain of our black neighbors. The city of Minneapolis is in turmoil with rioting last night and tonight.
One hundred thousand deaths from Covid19 . . . But how many other deaths, unrecorded of black men and teens are carried in the wails of my neighbors? At today’s Covid19 briefing a reporter asked about the use of tear gas to disperse the crowd. The question, behind the question, was how could there be any justification to use tear gas causing people to cough, when coughing would spread Covid19?
The need to lament is real.
“I say to God, my rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully” Psalm 42:9
Still, the psalmist hopes for a better future and believes that God’s power is greater than his anguish. He believes that God is in the midst of every situation and as he thinks on these things, he is calmed and quieted, saying:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.” Psalm 42:11
So we pray for peace and healing, for no more senseless deaths and for wisdom in our nation. We pray for integrity in our systems . . . We pray for the inbreaking of God’s Beloved Kingdom, setting right what has been so terribly, terribly wrong.