May 29, 2020by Reverend Dan on May 29, 2020
“Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?”
“Love your neighbor as yourself. This is the greatest commandment.”
I’d like for you to look at your watch and sit quiet and still for eight minutes. No talking, no watching TV. Just sit quietly.
Done? Good. Seemed like an eternity, didn’t it? That’s how long a police officer in Minneapolis kept his knee on the neck of a man who was being detained for allegedly trying to spend a counterfeit $20 bill. A man on the ground, bound with his hands cuffed behind his back. A man who over and over said, “Please, I can’t breathe”. People from the crowd shouting at the officer, “Bro, he’s not even (expletive) moving” and another shouted, “You’re just going to sit there with your knee on his neck?”
Eight minutes. Longer than it will take you to read this devotional.
The report said the man was put in handcuffs and taken to the ground because he was resisting officers while possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Then a knee was put on his neck and he couldn’t resist any more. I guess not. He couldn’t breathe. For eight minutes.
The report said that after a while it was realized he was suffering “medical distress”. Yeah. He couldn’t breathe. For eight minutes.
It was then that they called for an ambulance and it was confirmed that the man, George Floyd, died a “short time later at the hospital after a medical incident”. Yeah. He couldn’t breathe. For eight minutes.
What’s it going to take? When it is going to end? Most police officers I know are brave and kind and compassionate public servants of the highest regard. But it is the few who forget they are here to serve and protect and become vigilante rouges who get all the publicity.
And the same is true of those we see marching against what happened. Most are there to peacefully protest a wrong in hopes of making it right. But a select few decide to use the moment to riot and pillage and burn businesses, and they’re the ones who get the airtime.
And in the process, the view of all police officers and all protestors are erroneously discolored by the actions of a few, and the hate continues. It is 2020, and we are still fighting the Civil War. 135 years, and some folks still don’t get it. They stand behind such false claims as “heritage” and “racial pride”, but the truth is, it is nothing more than visceral prejudice and racial supremacy. And because of it, in scenes reminiscent of the 1960’s, cities are burning, But instead of Watts and Detroit, now it’s Minneapolis.
If enough of God’s children of all races and creeds and nationalities would speak up instead of sitting silently, maybe things would begin to change. If perpetrators of acts like these (police brutality and destruction of property) were held responsible and brought to justice, maybe a new dawn would come. If professed Christians would remember that we are all children of the same God, all equal heirs to His grace, and all called to the greatest commandment to love one another as ourselves, maybe we could find hope.
But until and unless that happens, we are going to continue to die as a society and a nation. Eight minutes at a time.
“Father, Forgive us. Let the shame of our silence be the genesis of living out our neighborly love for one another. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”