It’s time to listen…

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Mark 16:1 When the sabbath was over (two days after Jesus was crucified), Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

If you’ve been following along in Mark you know that, in this final section of the story, Jesus’ disciples are not exactly portrayed as a profile in courage. They swore to him they would never leave him or allow anything to happen to him – only to completely abandon him in his hour of need. Here the theme continues.

The women arrived to Jesus’ tomb prepared to anoint his body for burial, but he was not there. A “young man dressed in a white robe” (presumably an angel) told them “He has been raised.” The women were then instructed to tell Peter and the rest of the disciples what they had seen and heard. How did that go? “… they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”. So – fear continued to be in control.

I get it. Who would believe them? As women they were not considered people of authority in the community so it didn’t make sense that Jesus would appear to them instead of to Peter or one the other leaders. In later verses we find out when the women finally did muster the courage to share the news, their suspicions were confirmed. No one believed them. Jesus would later chastise them all for their unbelief.

Our country is in a mess right now. I don’t think that’s really debatable. Most recently we had the horrible killing of an Africa-American man in police custody followed by many days of peaceful protests – and violent looting and destruction in dozens of cities. It’s not our finest hour as a nation.

Unfortunately the violence and looting has taken our attention away from the most important aspect of these painful events – that ANOTHER black man was killed unnecessarily by a white man in authority. It happens over and over again and it has to stop.

But here’s a painful truth for me today. People like me, for whom the status quo basically works (not perfectly, but mostly), are inclined to just want the unrest to stop. We think “ENOUGH”! But for many people for whom the status quo is NOT working, ending the disruption of protest and civil unrest is NOT okay because when that happens many will be inclined to stop listening. Yes, it’s true it can be hard to listen to someone who is screaming in your face, but more than ever I believe what they are saying matters. Deeply.

If people like me don’t take seriously what desperate people are saying right now, we are a lot like those who ignored what the women at the tomb had to say. We may not like the messengers. Or the method. Or even the message. But here’s what I DO know. As the people of God, the One who continually showed concern and love for people on the margins, how we respond in these days says a lot about who we really are.

Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

3 thoughts on “It’s time to listen…

  1. Lyn Zastrow

    The killing of George Floyd was reprehensible. Everyone in the US agreed. But I cannot support #blacklivesmatter. They are a political/thug organization. They are currently supporting #defundthepolice. Really?? That will help. The police spend more of their time in black neighborhoods to reduce crime.
    The of course there is this taken directly from their website “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” I’m sorry, but the destruction of the nuclear family in the black community is a HUGE problem. Will socialism fix this – DREAM ON! There are too many kids without fathers. Margret Sanger uses her Planned Parenthood to euthanize the black community (strongly supported by democrats with taxpayer dollars) destroyed the meaning of life in the community. George Floyd was precious, and the baby being aborted is precious. The government social programs enable more and more of a single parent family and fail to fix any problems. But they have “good intentions”.

    If we want to fix it, we have to show God’s love. Not support the political whims of thug organizations by showing their twitter handle. I hope I never see that again on a religious site.

  2. Lyn thanks for your comment. You are correct there is a lot wrong with the world that creates the situations we are seeing front-center right now. I’ve not investigated the official BLM website, nor do I suspect have many people who carry their signs. And you are correct many of the “solutions” being proposed are ludicrous if not counter-productive. But I also believe focusing mostly on how other people have it wrong (which consumes so much of the public and even private discourse right now) is not going to move the needle either. It sucks up all the oxygen in the room, challenges people to take a side – and nothing of substance changes. So instead of joining in on the scrum, I’m choosing to focus on my own actions. And for me the place to begin is by listening to people who struggle with the way things are – who find themselves on the losing end of these engagements with authority over and over. I don’t have to agree with them. I’m not absolving them of responsibility. But I’m admitting I don’t understand. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me, which tells me I have a lot to learn. I started with my next-door neighbor who is black and raising two teenage sons. It was a fascinating conversation. She helped me see things in a different light. She also named that the key to seeing lasting change includes needed change within the black community itself – for some of the reasons you name. I’m convinced that EVERYONE has work to do here. Anyway, you’ll hear more about this on Sunday. Love you brother.

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