I support the Black Lives Matter movement, and I am hopeful for many of the reforms it advocates. But the violence in this moment seemed so misplaced, misguided, unnecessary and counter-productive.
The image of a man shouting obscenities at protesters, and a protester tackling him and spraying him in the face will not soon leave me. But neither will the protester who tried to diffuse the situation, and others who tended to the hurt man lying in the middle of the street. There is, in all of this, a parable I think. A parable for our time, for our city. Let those who have ears listen!
The gospel of Jesus Christ has much to speak to us in this moment. Each of us has vocations, and I hope you will discern yours and engage them earnestly. Let me bless you in them. If your zeal is blurred with searing anger, perhaps you are called to protest. If that is so, protest with a virtuous zeal, and turn your focus toward that change you hope for, rather than the enemy against which you are fighting. Don’t take their bait of hatred and return it with hatred. Pepper spray in everyone’s eyes just leaves everyone blind, right?
If you are angered by our President, or by the intrusion of federal agents, or by the crisis in our democracy, or by city officials, or by police tactics, or by vandalizing protesters, or… or… or… ask yourself how that anger informs your vocation in this moment, your vocation in the name of Christ. Your anger may very well serve a purpose, but do the work of self-reflection to ensure it is rightly used.
In it all, we are called to pray, to pray fervently to God in such a time as this—to pray for our broken hurting world, for our city, for all who demonstrate peacefully, for all who stand in harm’s way, for those whose anger has blinded them to our common humanity, for you and me, and for this community of Saint Mark’s Cathedral. Pray that this community might stand courageously as a witness of Christ in this world, in all the ways our communal vocation calls us into action. And let us worship together, wherever we are, that we might encourage one another on the journey. I am,