Just Like Jesus / 21 Days of Justice Week 2 (Justice & Righteousness & Shalom): TUESDAY
With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Invocation: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Word: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1).
Following the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Concordia Seminary Professor Leopoldo Sánchez spoke with two Black Lutheran pastors, Rev. Micah Glenn and Rev. Warren Lattimore. The text below is transcribed from a recording of the conversation. In this portion of the conversation, Professor Sánchez asks both pastors how they have personally processed the death of George Floyd.
Glenn: For me, it’s a bit of rollercoaster at times. You know, having watched George Floyd’s death and being made aware of others and even seeing others. At first, it’s quite traumatizing to see somebody be strangled to death in broad daylight. Somebody who shares ethnicity with you. That has happened historically in our country. Because as you’re watching it, most likely in the forefront of your mind, there’s this reality that at any given time, it could be you, just simply based upon your skin color…
Lattimore: It creates this lament within me that there’s not an answer, there’s not a solution, there’s not a clever homiletical structure that will make it all work out. But the repetition also in an ironic sense, a Niebuhrian irony, almost creates this sense of hope…
Sánchez: Often, we think of hope as something that is disconnected from real life, as some sort of future thing that is coming. But, hope in the scriptures is really hope in the midst of lament. And I think as I was processing some of your reflections on the past view weeks [after George Floyd], it is striking to me that rather than say - how do we move forward right away? How do we change this right away? What you're saying is that we need to step back. Hold on a second. We need to step back. Reflect. We need to lament. We need to grieve, right? We need to make space for righteous anger, as it were, right? We need to be in deep solidarity with the suffering. And from that place, then we can talk about other stuff, but let’s not jump over that. (https://concordiatheology.org/2020/06/lutheran-voices-on-racism/?fbclid=IwAR1V6-YD4F1U1-ZuT3nINR1jyw1DawdIgrkCbVSwRO5R-sYCFFkxMa1JlPI)
As Lutheran-Christians, how can we make space in our homes and churches for people of color to lament and grieve injustice? How might recognizing pain and suffering allow Christ to shine forth hope and usher in peace? Has God done this in your life in times of mourning? How could you extend that empathy to others?
Prayer: Almighty God, in the cross of Jesus you entered into the depths of human suffering. Hear our cries now. On behalf of ourselves. On behalf of others. Do not forsake your people, but save us by your mighty hand. Hear us for Jesus’s sake, amen.