When the guilty verdict at the Derek Chauvin trial was announced, I immediately contacted one of our pastors, the Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, Jr. He is an Elder in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference who serves the Camphor UMC in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since last year, he has been hard at work ministering to a congregation and community that has been traumatized by the murder of George Floyd.
I asked him, what are you feeling right now? He said, “I have been holding this cry in since May of last year. Today, in this moment, these tears represent a deep sense of relief. I feel seen, I feel valued. I feel like finally, my black life matters to others.”
Family of God, this has been a very difficult journey for our country in the past year but there have been “weary years and silent tears” for centuries. Many people have not received justice in the past; and racial inequity and violence against people of color has been a painful reality. May we shed some silent tears along with our many brothers and sisters who have been traumatized by racism, unjust systems and brutality.
As a church, may we pray for our country, that it continues the redemptive journey of racial reckoning. Please hold the family of George Floyd in your prayers for the loss of their loved one.
Pray for peace and justice for all people. Provide patient, supportive, loving community for those who have been wounded and traumatized by hate. This is not fully a moment of jubilation for all, but more a sigh of relief and deep exhaustion.
Take responsibility to do the things that you can personally do that will help make positive changes in our world. Restorative Justice is a practice, a way of living, and not a verdict in one particular trial. The church can teach this and model this.
The Psalmist reminds us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) May we live and work to see the dawning of joy and of equity for everyone born.
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