Thursday, August 21, 2014

And the church was silent: a reflection on Ferguson (John 12:21)

SCRIPTURE: John 12:21 (CEB) – larger reading John 12:20-36
They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and made a request: "Sir, we want to see Jesus."

“the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what he saw in a plain way,” said John Ruskin in Modern Painters. “Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion – all in one.”

Ferguson is being torn apart. A reporter for MSNBC interviewed its mayor. He held to the belief that there isn’t a racial divided in his city. Clearly he doesn’t see what he wishes not to believe. It is sad.

And the church is silent. Who is on the scene to show them Jesus?

A black man is dead. At this particular point no one knows the full story. Protesters and agitators and opportunists have descended on the city each seeing the situation through their own filters. They believe what they want to believe and are acting accordingly.

And the church is silent. Who is on the scene to show them Jesus?

The full story is slowly coming forward, investigations are starting to take place, some reporters are seeking to unearth the truth, while other reporters, with their cameras rolling, simply fan the flames of anger. People see what they want to see. It is a sad saga in the city of Ferguson.

And the church is silent. Who is on the scene to show them Jesus?

Seeing the truth is going to be difficult. Held positions will have to be released or ignored, but better to be faced and dealt with. A community will need to heal and move on. Calm will return to Ferguson as those who are there simply there to protest or agitate or loot finally move on to wait for another situation avails itself for their form of justice.

Will the church continue to remain silent? Will no one come forward to show them Jesus?

As the news media finally tires of the story and moves on to another injustice or turns their attention to other news that grabs the headlines... As the body of Michael Brown is buried and his family’s grief begins to subside… As the riot gear is stored away and the military vehicles are returned to the cities motor pool… As the streets clear of the protestors and it is safe once again to walk down the sidewalk… the question still will remain, will the church continue to remain silent and will no one show them Jesus?

Though my city hasn’t erupted with racial unrest and no headline-grabbing event has caused the national news media outlets to descend upon my city am I showing them Jesus? Am I silent? Does my church speak up against the racial injustice? Or am I waiting for someone else to do it for me?


My silence is deafening. My inaction disturbs me. The request to show them Jesus goes unanswered. Show me the way Lord show me the way.

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