Nearly every morning, in recent weeks, we awake to news of more deaths in our nation. We are a nation at war with itself! For hundreds of years the African American community has lived in fear of unwarranted and/or over excessive police violence. Now the police live in fear of out of control public demonstrations and snipers. Where will it end? How will it end? From July 1 to 10 I was in South Korea attending the annual International Society of Biblical Literature conference. Several papers I heard focused on the recent agreements made between the leaders of South Korea and Japan related to past atrocities committed while Korea was under Japanese rule. The South Korean population is unhappy because Japan has never apologized for these atrocities. They use Germany as their model; noting the frequent apologies made by Germany for the atrocities committed under Nazi rule. The South Koreans want an apology from Japan.
Similarly, the US government and Caucasian population has committed numerous atrocities against her African American citizens over a period of several hundred years. We are not yet at the point where the African Americans are demanding an apology. Currently, the African American population is demanding an end to the abuse! How can we break through the walls of hatred, violence, oppression, and abuse? If we do not find a way to tear down the structures that sustain the violence we are currently experiencing, almost daily, we will surely end up with another civil war.
Hear the words of lamentation taken from Psalm 39:
I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the enemy is in my presence”
I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
My distress grew worse,
My heart became hot within me.
While I mused the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord let me know my end,
And what is the measure of my days;
Let me know how fleeting my life is….
And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you….
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not hold your peace at my tears….
Left to our own devices we will destroy one other. May the Spirit of goodness and mercy overcome the evil and hatred that has taken up residence in the soul of our nation.
Do not delay O God!
LeAnn Snow Flesher, PhD
Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testament
American Baptist Seminary of the West