Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a back seat to another news jolt, that is the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This Sunday, in my worship remarks, I will speak to this tragic event. Unable to do so last Sunday, due to the recording of worship earlier in the week – and because the repercussions of this crime will no doubt be felt for quite some time – I think it necessary to lend my perspective to it.
As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I do not speak for the church, but to the church. You may not agree with all I say, but you do need to know this: it is my firm conviction that racism is, unfortunately, alive and well in our culture, and Jesus would, and will, have none of it. Let it not be lost on us that in one of his most famous, not to mention beloved, parables he made the enemy of his fellow Jews, the Samaritan, to be the hero of his story.
There is a sense in which George Floyd now needs to be made the hero of our story… or at least, the symbol of the work we have yet to do in mending the wrongs of our society. This Sunday, I will speak to you of the symbol of breath, reflecting on Mr. Floyd’s pleas to an uncaring policeman, “I can’t breathe.”
There’s another, just as powerful, symbol at work here as well. It is the knee. For 400 years, black people in America have had a white knee against their necks. Kneeling is a symbol of prayer, but there is a sense in which it is now time for us get off our knees and stand… together, hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, with our sisters and brothers of all colors and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
I do believe Jesus would be at the head of such a procession.