At the webinar “Standing on Holy Ground Against Gun Violence” one of the points that I offered was to say that after a disaster, trauma or crisis “what is already present usually becomes more visible.” What I mean by that is if there is an underlying problem or problems with the pastor or the council/staff/session, if the church leadership or Presbytery leadership are unhealthy or dysfunctional, my experience with trauma says those issues will be revealed. They will come out and they usually come out in unhealthy ways. They need to be addressed but often they are ignored due to the impacts of the situation.
I say that now, because as I ponder the COVID-19 pandemic with 1.8 million confirmed cases and 107,000 deaths in the US combined with the economic crisis of up to 43 million people unemployed (MarketWatch), the protests, riots and social upheaval seem to me a predictable reaction. In no way is that to excuse the violence nor do I approve of the strategy and I will never understand. Rioting makes absolutely no sense to me but I also know that what is already there gets reveals under stress/crisis in trauma and disasters. Riots and protests are the culmination of underlying issues.
I’ve been reflecting on what’s being revealed. What are the underlying issues? I wish I could switch the channel to 740 or 121 to make me feel better and make “those people” just go away but the denial of issues does not lead to a resolving of the causes or underlying issues. Not dealing with something is not really dealing with something. (That quote might actually make it to BrainyQuote.)
What do we need to do for something of value to come out of these protests? Dr. King said these words: “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
What are the underlying issues being revealed by the rioters?
What do you need to do for something of value to come out of these protests?
What is the difference between justice and mercy?
What does it mean for me to walk humbly with my God?
Holy God, convince me or convict me not to walk away from the causes of the disturbances and destruction that is occurring. I need you to show me how I can be used to further your desires for creature, community and creation. Let me do something concrete. Let me be who you need me to be. Amen.
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