Summary: How do we view the tragic events of Ferguson, MO where an unarmed 18 year was shot and killed by a police officer. What is our response as people of Faith, as Christians? We must care and evaluate, what are we doing with our life?
TITLE: LIFE IS TOO PRECIOUS TO WASTE
SCRIPTURE: EPHESIANS 5:15-17
We all have been watching once again the sad reality of another one of our YOUNG BLACK MEN GUNNED DOWN IN THE STREETS AT THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO TOOK AN OATH TO PROTECT AND SERVE. The sad reality is, we will eventually move beyond this until the next time it happens. We know we will not have to wait very long. It is good to see a healthy awareness by gathering and marching across the land, even here in our State of Oklahoma. Could we do more, yes, I suppose we could. However; I am not sure marching is where we need to start.
So the question is – “HOW ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND MICHAEL BROWN AND FERGUSON, MO FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF FAITH?” As Christians we must begin with the premise that any attempt to understand the Michael Brown events must start from respect for him, his body, and his story.
Before it is anything else, Michael Brown’s death is a human tragedy. But for people of faith, human tragedies are also social and cosmic tragedies. We believe that human beings matter not only to each other but to God. So the injustice and oppression inherent in any American inter-racial killing is a Theological concern.
This morning I do want to say, that given this nation’s history of racial injustice, the issues and concerns in Ferguson really ought to be at the top of our prayer list and action agenda as a faith community. I don’t believe we are doing or have done enough as a Community of Faith in our state of Oklahoma. I pray that will change as this new Association we have been hearing so much about the past 3-4 weeks gives birth.
In certain communities, no one had to pay attention to Michael Brown.
• In certain communities, his death did not resonate with significance
• In certain communities, no one would confront the preacher and ask why they did not respond to the death of this young person
• And yet in other communities, his death was a touchstone
• A cause for prayer and lament and righteous anger and faithful expectation
These distinct reactions are a raw reminder that our communities of faith remain largely segregated.
• Though we worship the same God, the contexts within which we seek God's face are radically different
• In such a divided context, what does it look like to love your neighbor?
• What does it look like to be "one" church even as we are profoundly divided?
We don’t want to wrestle with the question – “WHO IS OUR NEIGHBOR?” We don’t want to wrestle with the thought “ARE WE OUR BROTHERS KEEPER?” ST. MATTHEW 12:46 – While Jesus was still talking to the crowd his mother and brothers stood outside wanting to speak to him. Someone told him:
• "Your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to speak to you." And Jesus replied to him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother"
We as Christians may not want to wrestle with our position, but the fact of the matter remains the same - the young man killed was human — like us all. He was made in God’s image. Regardless of the circumstance surrounding his death, We Can Care. Every Christian can respond to this situation. If an injustice took place, it matters because the Bible speaks to that – PROVERBS 29:27 “AN UNJUST MAN IS AN ABOMINATION TO THE JUST: AND HE THAT IS UPRIGHT IN THE WAY IS ABOMINATION TO THE WICKED.” And regardless of what actually happened, we have a responsibility to pray for “all people” without prejudice.
Can I admit to you, and perhaps I am naïve, but I thought we were moving beyond this. We were supposed to be more civilized - more enlightened. Race riots were supposed to be one of history’s artifacts, tucked away in the attic of time right between steam engines and leisure suits.
• We thought we had buried the past
• We were wrong
• The events in Ferguson, MO over the last two weeks have jolted the conscience of America
• A teenager is dead, and that is Tragic
• His family grieves, and that is Heartbreaking
• His community burns, and that is Regrettable
I don’t know what will happen in the court system, maybe another Javon Martin outcome. The bottom line at least Zimmerman went to trial. FERGUSON, MO – may not even go to trial. What do we do with the Killing of MICHAEL BROWN, an 18 year old whose life was Cut Short? What do we do? Where do we go from here? Perhaps the Judicial System will work this time. WE DON’T NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE STREETS, WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE HOME!