I don’t go on twitter because I’m afraid of what I see. Another black boy shot dead in the street by an authority who assumed he was guilty. Another “troubled, lone-wolf” white man shooting crowds of people by the dozens with the assault rifle we refuse to say is dangerous. I see another father banned from the country, from seeing his wife, his daughter, and son for the next ten years. Another woman villainized for coming forward about her rapist. Another video of an image-bearer being verbally attacked in a grocery store because she’s brown and carries a thick, Latin accent with her English. I see the underbelly of America and it’s deeper than I could have imagined so I run, because I don’t want to be swallowed by the darkness.
I think about writing a long exposé about why now, more than ever, the American Church should stand with those who mourn this day – our Independence Day – but I flick the idea to the side of my brain in favor of standing with those who are mourning. I think about the descendants of those enslaved on this day 242 years ago and I weep, knowing that still, they are not free from the legacy of slavery. I think about the undercapitalized men and women trapped in neighborhoods where survival means gang affiliation and I weep, knowing that most of them won’t make it out alive and so many of them never had a chance. I think about the native, indigenous people who were stomped out of their land and I weep, knowing that even today, American greed is destroying their people. I think about the children representing themselves in immigration court and I weep, knowing that most of them just want their moms and dads.
I think about the hurting, the poor, those cast off to the margins of society and I weep knowing that nobody cares.
I weep for the growing divide between my father and me, for the way we can’t see each other over the policies, and the sensationalized media, and the news anchors we’ve decided to trust. I weep for the American Evangelical Church, and for all the ways she’s let the rhetoric of well-endowed white men crystallize over her eyes. I weep for black mothers who are cast as the villains when they don’t join in celebrating a country that has systematically imprisoned their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands.
I weep for America, my country, my heart, my people.
I sit at my oversized coffee table, the one I got from Aimee and Colin, and pour over the scriptures. I ask God how I can be blessed when the mourning hurts so bad? How is this life-giving when I feel my insides mutilated by the sadness? I tell him it’s too much, that I don’t want to identify with the marginalized if this is their reality – that I’d rather be near a barbeque somewhere on a beach celebrating freedom, even if that freedom belongs only to me. But then he whispers, “Beloved…” and I go unraveling. Because even the reality of him calling me by name – that name – points me back to the cross.
I am Beloved because Christ was rejected and that means it’s all true.
One day, there will be justice. One day, there will be freedom. One day, because of the cross, every nation will celebrate one independence day. One day the black community will be considered the greatest among us. One day Latinos from every corner of the earth will emerge from the shadows and dance in glorious light. One day we’ll learn how to live in harmony with creation from the indigenous people. One day the poor will be full, the meek will be revered, and those who mourn will be comforted.
So take heart, beloved. The Kingdom belongs to those who weep.