I will not sleep well tonight because I dread unfolding the daily paper in the morning. The front page will show and tell of the shooting of a man by a Wilmington police officer several blocks from the church.
I will not sleep well tonight because I will be praying that this is not the next chapter in a story that has taken us through Ferguson and Staten Island.
I will not sleep well tonight because this is the third evening this week that I have gotten a phone call with a report that violence has desecrated our neighborhood. Only a few blocks from tonight’s incident young men were shot and killed on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
I will not sleep well tonight because I will be crying out with the Psalmist:
How long, O Lord?
As we continue the journey through this season of the capital “E” Epiphany, I would offer my small “e” epiphany.
Reading in our sacred text that the people of God have always been confronted with violence, oppression, and injustice can lead one to be passive and resigned. One can read the poets and prophets from thousands of years ago as license to accept that it is what it is, and it will be what it will be.
Tonight I reject this reaction and refuse such resignation. Yes, it is true: I do not personally posses the wisdom, skills, or power to end the violence that plagues us. I am, however, a part of a community of faith both locally and globally. So, tonight I choose to believe:
that followers of Jesus are called to ceaselessly advocate for – and offer ourselves in – the pursuit of peace, justice and righteousness – most especially when it feels hopeless and endless;
that things change when communities of faith answer this call together – let us take heart and find hope as this very weekend we recall and rejoice in the life and legacy of Dr. King;
that when the light of Christ that burns within each one of us comes together the darkness of violence will be vanquished.
Tonight, I will ultimately sleep because I share the pursuit of God’s light with each of you, and believe that, together, we will play a part in bringing about God’s glorious reign of…