this post may be a total downer on what should be a happy day. it’s hard for me to care.
today, mothers are weeping for their children, because they are no more.
today, facebook and twitter are venomous, and Christians are doing some of the ugliest spouting.
today, it’s thanksgiving, and i’m reading lamentations.
i don’t know very much about lamenting, but i’m fairly certain that the sorrow i feel over that fact is a step in the right direction. i know what it is to feel sad, to be moved to the point of tears, to mourn and even to grieve. but to lament, to express grief and sorrow, to let anguish run its course and not be concerned with moving on just yet, with that, i am not so familiar. especially when, as in this case, i’m lamenting over my own sin and the sin of those just like me.
sin that looks like scrolling past news articles because “i just can’t handle it.”
sin that looks like bristling at the phrase “white privilege.”
sin that looks like refusing to understand the story of systemic injustice toward blacks in America.
sin that looks like ignoring social justice in my own backyard because i’m “passionate about foreign missions.”
sin that looks like giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who looks like me, and not extending the same grace toward someone who doesn’t.
i could go on for hours.
today, there’s turkey to eat and football to watch and thankfulness to be proclaimed, yet so much of what i should feel thankful for sits trite and ridiculous in my mind, because today, it’s thanksgiving, and i’m reading lamentations. if i am thankful for anything today, it’s the opportunity to speak up on behalf of the oppressed, to recognize that my rights are not to be clung to, but lain down. i’m thankful that there is no fear in love. i’m thankful that i am no longer embarrassed to admit how little i know about what it’s like to be black in this country, but i want to understand, i want to partner, i want to come alongside.
but what about the looting?
but what about black on black crime?
but Michael and Trayvon were aggressive, but Tamir reached for a (toy) gun.
but what about the grand jury decision? don’t you believe in our justice system?
what i believe is that sin has permeated the very marrow of our beings. i believe that the gospel is the. only. answer. to the racial divide that it’s time we all acknowledge. i believe that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and he didn’t stop to make sure we weren’t stealing from a convenience store (or writing ugly Facebook posts) before he gave himself to death. to step into the racial divide, admitting ignorance and asking for grace, is not to validate the sins that have occurred on either side of the line. it is to acknowledge that we are all in need of grace and it is time we offer some in the form of asking questions, listening to answers, apologizing for generational sin, grasping hands and refusing to be silent when a segment of our community is treated as though they are not equal image bearers of the God who created each of us.
we teach our children to apologize for their part in wrongdoing, to stop being so worried about who sinned first, to confess any and all participation in hurting one another without saying “but he did X,Y or Z.” X, Y or Z don’t disappear when we apologize first; we’re not saying they weren’t important or painful or wrong. we’re saying that we are also responsible, that we are not innocent, that we want to eliminate the Xs, Ys and Zs from our own lives for the sake of one another and the glory of God.
it’s time to go stuff a turkey now, to decorate a table and watch a parade with my kids. i’ll be present today, thankful for all we have and intent on making those memories that holidays have a way of turning magical. but i’ll also be begging God for the insight of where to go from here, and i’ll probably ask those sitting at my table as well. i’ll be looking for ways that my thankfulness can inspire action, and in a corner of my heart i’ll continue lamenting, hoping for a more public, communal forum in which to do so in the days to come.
today, it’s thanksgiving, and i’m thankful i can learn more about God’s heart by lamenting, by trusting that His grace is enough, that the gospel is the answer to all brokenness and fractures within and around me.
will you join me?