Piloting Faith: How Long, O Lord?

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How long, O Lord?

This past week we have all been reflecting on the impact of the guilty verdict in the death of George Floyd. Like so many, I was relieved that in this one instance, we got it right. But…relieved…is a strange feeling for the scale of the injustice this moment represented. None of us should be relieved. We should be able to count on fairness in our judicial system and integrity from our public servants. That should not even be a question. The feeling of relief is a red flag that our system is profoundly broken and compromised in ways that are costing lives at every turn.

Shortly after the verdict was read, Erica Williams Simon posted on Twitter, “I really want to have good feelings right now. I *want* to believe this means something. But more than that, I want to never be here again. More than anything I want Black people to live long, blessed, happy lives. That’s all.”

I join her in that wish. I wish that every human and every creature can live a life free of tyranny and oppression. Sadly, on the same day, the verdict was delivered in Minneapolis, Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by a police officer in Columbus Ohio.

How long, O Lord?

The spiritual traditions of the world agree that the starting place for social change begins inside of each one of us through the cultivation of compassion. The Kabbalah says of compassion: “Let your neighbor’s honor be as precious to you as your own, for you and your neighbor are one in the same. That is why we are commanded: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ You should desire what is right for your neighbor; never degrade them or wish for their disgrace. You should feel as bad for such suffering as if it were your own.”

It’s tempting to think that dismantling these violent and oppressive systems will solve the brokenness in us that created them to begin with. We should work to change the systems. But if our efforts are to last, we have to change our consciousness. We have to change ourselves.

Christian mystic, Teresa of Avila, commissions us to a life of compassion by saying, “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”

How long, O Lord?

We pray not long. We pray that Thy will be done through us, Thy kindom come among us, on earth as in heaven within us.

We are in this together,

Rev. Cameron

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