Lection Connection

July 12, 2020: Love that Disrupts

From Sandra Rooney

 

After the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, The Black Lives Matter movement gained new momentum. Immediately there were peaceful demonstrations protesting his death and calling for justice. There were also some violent incidents, property damage and looting. The demonstrations and call for racial justice echoed around the world.

 

Statues of Confederate generals were torn down. A British monument to the 17th-century slave Trader Edward Coston was toppled by protesters and tossed into the harbour in Bristol. In Antwerp, it was the statue of Leopold II, and 78,000 signatures were added to a petition to remove all monuments to the King of Belgium, whose reign saw the murder and mutilation of at least 10 million Africans in Congo. By now dozens of statues of historical figures associated with colonialism and slavery have been pulled down. It seems, at last, citizens of all our countries are beginning to acknowledge the dark side of our histories and to realize how the burden of what we have called progress, our growing power and wealth, was carried on the backs slaves.

 

Some of the offensive statues are being torn down by demonstrators, others are being removed by local officials. Around some there seems to be consensus, but for others the issue is still contentious. Beyond public monuments, the broader issue of visual representation in the U.S. includes the display of the Confederate flag, military academies named for Confederate generals, and imagery used on popular brand items such as Aunt Jemima’s Pancake Mix. The issue goes deep into our history, not all of which is commonly known, and much more of which has simply been unacknowledged until now.

 

Questions arise: What happens to the statues? How is honest history remembered and portrayed? Who is to be honoured, how is history to be taught? Beyond that, there are questions of redress, policies to be put in place to insure equal justice before the law, and equal access to employment opportunities, housing, education, and health care. In the U.S., can all share in living the American dream?

 

Explore…Genesis 25:19–34

  • What do you notice about the characters in this passage?
  • What do the scope and nature of the stories in Genesis tell us about history?
  • What guidance do they give us as we deal with today’s racial issues?
  • What are the stories in your family, your faith community or where you live that are hard to tell? Why?
  • How is your community reflected in the story above?
  • Where do you find God in all of this?

 

Prayer…

God of history, open our eyes to the ways in which we have benefited from and participated in the practices of discrimination. Give us the courage to examine and confront our own implicit biases, which shape our attitudes and actions. Be with us as we seek to move out of our comfort zone into new ways of living. Amen.

 

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