Enough! Enough already! Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy! What’s going on, people?
This is not the way I would normally start a blog post, but these are the thoughts running through my head against the backdrop of this week’s Revised Common Lectionary gospel (Luke 10:25-37) and my social media newsfeed. Basically it’s a verbal mash-up of who’s my neighbor and who’s acting like a neighbor versus brutal public murders of black men and police officers, anger and hate-filled rhetoric flying willy-nilly in all directions, and competing claims about what will make America great again. Lament seems the only viable response.
Jesus calls us to action. He calls us to show mercy, to go and do likewise. Sure, Jesus wept and grieved and mourned for the brokenness of the world in which he walked; however, he was not stymied by the enormity of it all. Sure, he wanted his father to take the cup of sorrows and woes away from him, but he was willing to act. He was so willing, in fact, that he died a horrible death as a political and religious insurrectionist–crucified.
Jesus’ words in this week’s gospel lesson ring so true in light of this world’s pain, anger, and fear:
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10:36-37
Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Dallas law enforcement officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, and three others whose names have not yet been released died, having fallen into hands that robbed them of their lives.
Who are their neighbors? Who will rise up and show mercy and go and do likewise to stop this senseless violence, this systemic racism, the fear and hate? Who is willing to take small steps each day to look neighbors in the eye, to get to know the stranger, to work for justice and mercy and peace? Who will be courageous enough to realize that we all have stories, that some of us have privilege that has been stolen from others, that we are all beloved children of the Creator, and that we are stronger and made whole in interdependence? Who will take the risk? Who will walk the Jericho roads of Dallas, Atlanta, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and so many other cities and towns and notice the fallen and beaten?
If not me, if not you, then who?
Lord, have mercy. Move our feet and hands to action and our hearts to love.
Photo: Akio Takemoto, Creative Commons