Our reading tonight is from Rev. Melanie Kim-Hamill
On May 25, with everyone else, I watched the news and learned of George Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of police officers. I felt gutted. I wept openly as my daughter watched with concern on her face. I couldn’t shield her from this pain that had hit so deeply. Another black life, gone. Over nothing. In my hometown. I could not watch the video. Whether you did or not is your choice. Some believe that watching the video is an act of resistance. Many black friends have told me that to watch the video is to normalize the killing/death of black lives. They view it as a modern-day equivalent of lynching. I recognize my privilege in having the choice to watch or not. I name that. Unfortunately, one of the witnesses who recorded the exchange between Floyd and the police officers was a teen black female. She didn’t have a choice. It happened right in front of her very eyes in her community. That is the embodiment of trauma.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s merciless death, Minneapolis broke out in riots accompanied by looting and fires. A Target store on E. Lake Street took center stage as it went up in flames. This was my Target. The one that I took countless trips to as a college student at the University of Minnesota. The Target where my sister and I had our last hangout session in Minneapolis before I moved to Sarasota and she returned to NYC. We had a Starbucks coffee and shopped. Like many – I was deeply troubled over the arson, looting, and the violence that was breaking out in the streets. I was worried for the safety of those who were completely consumed with heartache and rage over George Floyd’s senseless murder. Many have seen these riots as a crime, a display of anarchy. Instead of passing judgment on this kind of a response to injustice, perhaps we can see it as desperate, last resort plea for change. When the voices of black people are squelched or ignored…something has to give. The CEO of Target, Brian Cornell, made a statement in response to people’s outrage. He supported the community and the nation’s outrage over Floyd’s death. He made sure to send medical supplies to the frontlines and assured us that they could rebuild. He got out of the way of making this about Target store and understood that this was about something much more significant. Let us take our cues from Cornell. It is our responsibility as people of Faith to examine ourselves and work towards justice for all.
Scripture: : Proverbs 21:15
“When Justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.”
- What will I do to further peace and justice in my community?
- How has the events that we have seen unfold over the past week and a half changed me?
Prayer from Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber
God whose name has been used to enslave those who bear your image, God whose name was called upon by Moses and Miriam and Martin Luther King Jr and Sojourner Truth, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. We call on your holy name to give us what we need to undo what has been done in your name. We call on your name to give us a holy curiosity about what being Black in America is really like, Lord. We call on your name to free us from our cherished notions of being “good” that keep us from hearing this truth, We call on your name to give us this day our daily truth, our daily humility, our daily rage, our daily hope. This country is burning Lord…may it be a cleansing Holy Spirit fire. Guide us to believe that the true name of God is stronger than what has been done in God’s name.
Come Holy Spirit.
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