On Sunday, we had a great introductory conversation about the polarizing nature of politics. We discussed why we get so passionate about this subject in particular, and then discussed the contrasts between the US political system and the kingdom of God. To listen in on parts of our discussion, tune in on our newly released podcast channel. Just follow the link to subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-open-table/id1134674129
We also mourned the events of this past week. The police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, and the subsequent sniper shootings of 5 police officers warranted reflection AND action. Below is a reflection from community member, Garrett Brown, and so is a great event for folks wanting to get involved in undoing racism in the US.
Join us at the next SURJ-KC meeting. SURJ stands for Standing Up for Racial Justice, and is a group run by and for white folks wanting to be allies in the ongoing work to undo systemic racism in our country.
Although we’ve enjoyed ourselves tonight, we are heavyhearted. Our prayers are with the families of the civilians and officers who were victims of gun violence this week.
Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. Philando Castile in Falcon Heights. The five officers who were shot in Dallas.
We have to remember that beyond being men of color, beyond being police officers, the people who we lost this week were just that: people. They were someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, someone’s friend.
I don’t stand here with answers tonight. I’m just like you – someone who was shocked to learn of these events, someone who is mourning the loss, someone who is still reeling from the sheer cruelty of split-second decisions made with gunmetal. These were horrible events made even more visceral and bloody by the immediacy of social media. These deaths are still fresh, still raw, still snapping us awake, challenging us to demonstrate hospitality and compassion and non-violence in every encounter.
We don’t have time tonight to have everyone share their thoughts and opinions, but what I will say is that whatever you’re feeling right now – be it anger, disgust, outrage, fatigue – it belongs. It all belongs. Romans chapter 12 speaks of “crying with those who are crying.” The verse is speaking about tears of solidarity (tears of empathy, tears of “yeah, me too.”). Tonight, we are all grappling to understand where to start in healing our country.
I’m going to close our gathering with a short Franciscan prayer that speaks to the grief and mourning that our country is collectively reeling from this week.
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them
And to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
Peace and grace, friends.