The Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)
Compassion and Justice, hand in hand. It is who our God is. Not one or the other, but both together. "Grace and Truth" is how one of his closest friends described him when he came to live with us--Word made flesh, the One and Only come from the Father (John 1:14).
We are living in difficult times. But they are also exciting times. No, I don't expect to see the Kingdom of heaven in its fulness, coming in the next few months, certainly not by political efforts. But I do hope to see Christians standing for compassion, Christians speaking out for justice, Christians living out grace and truth in an age when it is so much easier to sling mud on the Internet.
“It demonstrates the deep pain of American people of color in an age of one police killing after another,” I wrote in 2016 of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. How many more killings have occurred since then? More than I can count. (There appears to be a Washington Post data base of police killings that might answer that question, but I’m afraid I’m not a subscriber, so I don’t have access.)
Last week we watched in horror the video of a policeman kneeling on a black man’s neck until he died—far longer than necessary to subdue him even if he had been resisting arrest as alleged, which he is definitely not doing in the nine minutes of the video. The huge outpouring of protest in the days that followed show that much of the country agrees with me that until we hold police responsible for their actions, we will not see an end to this racist violence. (Holding a policeman of color responsible for shooting a white woman does nothing to break the cycle.)
I’m white. I can’t help that. But I can listen. And listen is what we are called to do in these days. In no way do I condone the the theft of TVs from Target or the trashing of local groceries and pharmacies, but I can hear the frustration that leads someone to pick up a brick and throw it through a window.
Hear with my heart, not formulating my own defense.
Look through God’s eyes of compassion, justice, and yes, wrath at evil.
Click here to read my 2016 thoughts on my own whiteness and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book.
I was impressed this week:
We had a parking lot service this morning. Our church had one last week as well, but it was pouring down rain, and we didn’t try to make it. Instead we watched the on-line Sunday school class (pausing for discussion among the three of us at the appropriate times) and the on-line sermon (after listening to a couple specially chosen YouTube praise songs.) You may have done something similar.
My website contains extra information on my books. One thing that I try to include is something about the writing of that book and a writing tip that grows out of the experience. Here are some thoughts on the writing of Black Mountain, the third of my Glastonbury Grail series, out the first of June.
Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)
Miriam stole a look at Cleopas. His head was bent. He stared down at the dusty road and forced one foot ahead of the other. At this pace, it would be dark before they reached their home in Emmaus. Did her husband even notice the fresh crisp air that had replaced the moldy smells of winter?
My husband has been going stir crazy ever since the drought of TV sports began, eager to go somewhere. Anywhere! We cancelled last week's trip to Baltimore to see our daughter and family. In April we intended to return to where we used to live in Brazil for a wedding. We won’t be going. We hadn’t planned a road trip to Montana, but that’s where we went.
In February my mother-in-law flew out to see her daughter’s family an hour south of Seattle for a birthday and a couple concerts. (Hey! This is a musical family. We’re very supportive of one another’s performances.)
When I tried to call the airline Wednesday evening after cases of Covid 19 were reported in our daughter’s county and she knew someone with symptoms, the wait to talk to a person was 4+ hours. I’m an early riser so I figured calling at 6 AM would beat the crowd. Wait time only 2+ hours. But at least I would be awake 2+ hours later, and they have a system where you can leave your number and they call you back. In the end they forgave our non-refundable tickets without question. I’m grateful to Delta Airlines who is no doubt taking a huge hit this week.
So how do we pray in the midst of a situation like this?
I live in the Northwoods where my mailing address is a tiny Native American town dominated by a large casino. In my desire to better understand my Ojibwe neighbors, I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and a book of local history. Friends recommended several other titles, one being the autobiographical novel April Raintree (reviewed here) and another the shockingly titled Custer Died for Your Sins by Vine Deloria, an Oglala Sioux and executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), 1964-67.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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