It was very difficult to find words to write today and the text Romans 8:26 bubbled up: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Sprit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
Sighs too deep for words…in the past few days I have found myself in this place as racism looms large. My anger grows as armed white protestors can confront police who simply stand in place as they are confronted, yet unarmed black protestors are tear gassed when protesting the death of George Floyd. We do not seem to have come far from my experiences of shopping with my friend Sherry who is black—this was in the early 90’s. When we shopped together she was always asked for an additional identification when using her credit card, when I was not. (And her credit was way better than mine!)
Sighs too deep for words…I am angry and saddened to know that the Director of Worship for our Annual Conference, Lan Wilson needs to post this prayer on his Facebook page:
For the time my friend and I were followed for 2 miles questioned at gunpoint by a police officer for failing to use a turn signal then followed home and made it home safely…
For the time my brother was pulled over and interrogated about the ownership of his own car…
For all the times my brothers, cousins, friends, and black men everywhere were mishandled, misjudged, mistreated by those whose jobs is to keep us safe but didn’t and You, oh God, protected us… thank You.
But God we need this to stop. Open blind eyes. Soften hard hearts. Constrain wicked minds. And please, please, help your children.
Sighs too deep for words…the constitution of The United Methodist Church calls us to action:
The United Methodist Church proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commits itself to the healing and wholeness of all persons. The United Methodist Church recognizes that the sin of racism has been destructive to its unity throughout its history. Racism continues to cause painful division and marginalization. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of racial justice at all times and in all places. (Article 5)
Sighs too deep for words…I find deep hope in this text. It is a reminder that our words are not enough and on our own we cannot accomplish God’s call and claim upon us. It is God’s Spirit that works in us, stirs us up, and intercedes with sighs that propel us to go beyond words and give courage to be active in confronting racism as is our call both as the people of God and as United Methodists.
I invite you to commit yourselves to action in this time knowing that God’s spirit is stirring each of us! What are you being called to do?