A year ago in June 2015, a young man went into a church and shot ten people. One survived. Nine died. The shooter survived.
This year in June 2016, a young man went into a gay night club and shot hundreds of people. 49 died. The shooter also died.
Over the past two years, I’ve been watching the news with more interest and with a keener set of eyes. It feels like some news had been screened out for me before. I’m sure I wasn’t paying attention. I was busy with my own life, had my head buried in my own problems. Was raising kids. Didn’t have cable. Stayed up late watching SportsCenter, Will & Grace and Seinfeld, so I didn’t have the news channels on.
My black friends tell me it’s always been like this. They say that in the pages of Jet and Ebony, you could read each week and month about some arrest, conviction, injustice, shooting… But you had to read Jet and Ebony. Otherwise, that news wasn’t out there. They knew.
But cameras started being pointed in new places. And then everyone had a camera in their pockets. So more was caught. Much more. It’s not more crime. It’s that we’re seeing it. We’re seeing the injustices. We’re seeing the hatred and fear. We’re seeing the systems that are broken. We’re seeing a people who don’t love or don’t know how to love.
We’re seeing but we don’t know what to do. We’re often confused with our politics, our rights, our privileges, our faith, our friendships, our sexuality, our privacy. We feel pushed toward an extreme position. We feel like we need to come down hard. We want to be tough. Or we want to run away. Ignore the whole thing.
We need to work on love and justice. We need to promote a place where people can dance wherever and with whomever. Where people can worship wherever and with whomever. Let’s invite them to a place of love and justice, found in Christ. Let’s have fearless conversations instead of standoffs. Let’s practice genuine humility and unmistakeable generosity instead of a haughty arrogance that pulls back to protect our turf. Let’s trust in faith and love. Let’s pray for peace, for shalom, for the flourishing of all people in our world, that the Lord would reign.
Lord, hear the groans of the people imprisoned in our sin. Set us free, for we are doomed without you. Gather us together to worship you. Break this curse we’re all under. Give us yourself, that we may see and follow you. Secure us. Establish us. Show us your Love and Justice. God, hear our laments. We cry out to you to help us.