Alright, I admit it. I felt extraordinarily sheepish when I posted a banal reflection on my anxiety about cutting my hair and then saw, moments later, the news out of Ferguson, Missouri. What’s worse than saying nothing at all in the face of such circumstances? Talking about one’s hair. Lord, forgive me.
But did I jump back on the blog and fill the screen with anger, sorrow, shame, grief… no. The best i could do was to post on FB a simple hashtag #blacklivesmatter and a three word prayer- Lord, have mercy.
And while I’ve appreciated the eloquent reflections posted by many whom I love, I still don’t have much more to say. I’m brought to my knees– by beautiful black boys who die violent deaths-daily, by systems that make it safer to be white than black in America, by decisions which make it seem that gunning an unarmed person down could be justified, by a city on fire. Lord, have mercy. Have mercy, upon us.
I’m preparing to preach a sermon on the annunciation of John the Baptist- Luke 1:5-25. This is a passage that never makes the lectionary. I’ve never had occasion to preach on it before. But I heard a sermon on it once that irked me. I recall the sermon being extraordinarily hard on Zechariah for his lack of faith. The preacher seemed to interpret Z’s muteness post angelic revelation as punishment for faithlessness. I can see where one gets this from the text, but I think that after, what, 15, 20, 30 years of 12 consecutive months of disappointment, grief, disgrace (to borrow Elizabeth’s word)… promises like the ones Z received are going to render one speechless.
I’m rarely speechless. But Z, I’m with you tonight.