Black lives matter. I couldn’t agree more. It was impressive to see whites standing (or rather, laying down) with blacks at the Park City mall as a sign of unity. “Surely He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace….” Every black life snuffed out in fly by shootings, whether the gun holder’s hand is white or black, matters. Statistically, black babies are aborted at four times the rate of white babies. Each of these black lives matter. These victims cannot speak so we must speak for them.
By expanding it to all lives matter does not take away or devalue any people group, but rather increases the beauty of each individual life, no matter the origin, no matter the difference. We have the beauty of life as our most precious common denominator – each and every breathing individual carries life within and has needs for love, security, significance, purpose.
My mother’s family fled Germany as Hitler, seeking to extinguish the entire Jewish people, rose to power. This immigrant family sought to make a new life here amidst suspicions based solely on the fact that they were German. I live in an area rich with history of peoples who came to America to escape persecutions and death due to their beliefs. Black Africans were brought to America (and other countries) and sold as chattel, many living miserable lives under evil owners who stripped them of their dignity. Many others were treated favorably. The ones empowered to help (abolitionists, conductors in the Underground railroad, even up to President Lincoln) were white and at risk to their own lives and security, sought to restore the dignity and rescue those in slavery. Because black lives matter. Because life matters no matter what the color of the wrapping. Although black slavery was abolished, the haunting spirit of slavery still lives on and humans, no matter what color, are seen as a resource and trafficked worldwide.
Prejudice abounds. It abounds in small minds, in small, insecure hearts. Human nature in its lowest form will look down upon those who are ‘different’. My son with autism faces it. He, like DeBlasio’s son, is biracial. I, both as a woman, and in the over-fifty range face a degree of ‘pre-judging’. Sexism, ageism, even those overweight. Now prejudice abounds against those in uniform. But having a sit-in will not restore dignity to people. Respect comes from the action of not returning evil for evil and stooping to the level others place value upon. Respect for self, towards others, and from others comes from rising up in grace and heroic action. Now freed through the conscience and efforts of decent people, the former slave victims can now rise as victors and make a life that shows dignity and value. Rather than being slaves to the past, it is time to hitch our hopes and values and dreams into a future that is founded on respect, love, dignity. I don’t want to settle for ‘awareness’ (and aren’t we all pretty much aware?), but for acknowledgement and turning our energy for positive action rather than retaliation or escalation. Lets escalate in a revolution of grace and love.
1 – “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother” (O Holy Night carol). We have awareness that there still exists slavery TODAY in many forms, but awareness is not enough. Get involved. It is a growing evil that will continue until we stand in unity and say ‘enough’. Be a hero to someone else. We can heroically restore dignity in our generation. Let that be our goal. Let that be what future generations will note as our legacy and live in that freedom.
2 – Visit another church if yours doesn’t have diversity. Invite a family into your life, one that is ‘different’ than yours. Lets build some bridges!!
3 – How about learning a new language? Spanish? English? One of the chains that could bring us together is communication. Beyond this, however, is the universal language of love. How about some random acts of kindness? Bring some donuts to the police station. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you, or the groceries of the person in front of you. Pay with the grace card. Kindness and grace speaks a universal language of love. Let it begin with me.
4 – “In His Name all oppression shall cease…” Recognize that it is not the color of skin or uniform that separates us but the darkness that exists in our own hearts. It is universal. That is the place change needs to occur. The self-protection, self-promotion, self-interest, self-seeking puts filters on our eyes splinters in our hearts, and separates us. Wrongly separates because all human nature is blighted by it and though we long for peace we discover that “… hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” (I Heard the Bells carol) That’s because we ourselves are slaves – to ourselves and to the evil that lies within each of us. But the true hope is found not in a platform, cause or creed but in the One True Hope that we celebrate especially this season. He came to save us from ourselves!! From our own agendas, by seeking His peace, His life, His forgiveness, His way. The way of Peace from the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Peace will only reign outside of us when it reigns inside of our hearts and changes our thinking – outward, outside of ourselves. Then the true hero can rise up and find creative ways to lift up our brothers and sisters, restoring dignity as it was meant from the beginning of creation.
“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!”