What in the hell is going on? Why is that the question?
While the list of dead bodies — black and brown bodies, female, male, trans and gay bodies — lie dead in our streets; while Baltimore burns because there are no answers to the question of why one more Black man is dead; as a Black man is shot dead by police blocks from my East Village Church the question for me is, “What are we going to do about it?”
I admit I am devastated as I watch the fires burn. I flash back to my childhood, when fires scorched my Southside Chicago community when Dr. King was killed. I sobbed then, and I sob now, grieving, mourning.
What, as people of faith, are we to do about this? Are we to be overwhelmed by these things? Or are we, as my Bible says, “able to do more than we can ask or imagine through the power at work within us” and create the world we want?
Last Sunday morning, at Middle Collegiate Church where I am the senior minister, our multiethnic gospel choir sang the song “Glory,” from the movie Selma. A tall gorgeous Black gay man from our congregation led with, One day, when the Glory comes, it will be ours, it will be ours, while his petite white husband played the Hammond organ. The choir — directed by a Mexican American man, accompanied by a lesbian Black woman — filled with the voices of Chinese, Japanese, White, Black, Puerto Rican, married, and single folk who span generations rapped like Common — in unison! They wept, they stomped their feet as though they were stomping out injustice. Our congregation was on fire with deep feelings of both sorrow and hope.
I sobbed Sunday, not from grief, but with joy, as I was profoundly reminded of the space from which my hope comes. Never has it been more true: Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord!
So, even as the fires burn, while people stand on the steps of the Supreme Court working for justice, while congregations like mine join others in the multiethnic, intergenerational, multifaith movement for justice, I am reminded of this text from my Bible:
God is love, and those who live in God live in love and love lives in them (1 John 4:16).
Love is the power with which we can do more than we can even imagine.
As we grieve today, as we mourn today, as we work for justice today, I urge you to consider that all of our holy texts hold love as a value.
I am counting on people of faith to put Love-In-Action. Do something, doonething today, to right a wrong, to communicate a kindness, to create the world we want. A just world. A world in which Black Lives Matter. A world in which gay love is sacred. A world in which every life is precious.
As a straight Black woman, I’m inspired by my Muslim sister, Linda Sarsour, who organized and marched with the New York Justice League to Washington D.C. to protest police brutality. I am inspired by my gay white sister, Sharon Groves, who is in the BlackLivesMatter movement with me and so many others.
BlackLivesMatter and United4Marriage come from the same vision for a just society. We are one human family, created in the image of God.
I invite congregations to sing “Glory” from San Francisco to Baltimore and into the streets; to teach and preach curriculum about racial reconciliation and the history of civil rights in our country; and to write your representatives to ask them to pass federal laws for police body cameras.
If we do this, we move toward creating the world we want. And, one day, when the Glory comes, it will be ours. It will be ours.
Crossposted from HuffPost Religion.
Follow The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. on Twitter.