The Pastor’s Pen:
PRAYING FOR AND DEMANDING JUSTICE
In January of this year, the Urban Center–Milwaukee convened an institute titled Proclaim: Your Life Speaks – Our Lives Speak. As a scriptural focus for the institute, God revealed to Dr. Trinette McCray a passage of scripture that was appropriate to celebrate the life of and activate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is appropriate to this season in which we now live.
Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Prov 31:8
Over the past several days, we have witnessed the protest in response to the murder of George Floyd specifically, and in response more broadly, to the murders and the overall systematic, racist based treatment of people of color in this country and all over the world.
Looking beyond the misguided opportunist who have chosen to highjack the peaceful, organized and goal-oriented protests for their personal, destructive and unfocused outcomes, I am proud of those who day after day and night after night continue to march, stand and Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
God has blessed you to be who you are and where you are not for your benefit. Instead, God has blessed you to be who you are and where you are so that you can be a blessing others – especially by speaking out for those who cannot speak, by defending the poor and needy and by confronting those who are oppressing them and seeking to hold them in bondage.
Hear the words of Frederick Douglass that are yet relevant for today:
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
I encourage our young adults to raise your fists, raise your voices and participate in the protests. I encourage others to write letters and make phone calls. I encourage all of us to do something… Do something… Do something Frederick Douglass shared in his Autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”