Lection Connection

May 2, 2021: Beloved, Be Loved, Be Love

From Sandra Rooney

 

Sunday, April 18, the New York Times had a special section called “Transformation: How the pandemic birthed an awakening for many Americans.” The focus of the selections chosen were mostly personal introspection that focused on living life in the moment and valuing oneself and those you love. News reports throughout the year have widened the perspective of how people, individually and collectively, have been doing some soul searching, not just because of the pandemic, but also because of the number of unarmed Black men killed by police and the growing Black Lives Matter movement, to say nothing of the growing list of senseless killing.

 

Columnist Charles Blow pulled much of that history together in his April 17 column, starting with the summer of 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, when Michael Brown, a Black teenager, was killed, until last summer, with the killing George Floyd, and then again more recently Daunte Wright, both in Minneapolis. While every year over that six-year period police shot and killed roughly 1,000 people, Black Americans were killed at a much higher rate than those who were white. Unarmed Black people accounted for about 50 percent of the unarmed Americans killed by police, while making up only about 13 percent of the population. It has been a wake-up call regarding the issue of policing in America. We have also been forced to reexamine the history of slavery in this country.

 

As the country has grappled with systemic racism, laid bare by the pandemic and the increasing number of Blacks being killed in confrontations with the police, President Biden and others in the Congress have begun to seek solutions. A House panel has approved legislation that would create a commission to examine slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend ways to educate Americans about its findings and identify appropriate remedies. While the bill is not expected to be approved, as representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, said, “We think it will be cleansing for the nation and will be a step moving America forward to see us debate the issue on the floor of the House.”

 

At the same time, President Biden has put addressing racial inequities at the centre of his domestic policy agenda, including billions of dollars in investments in Black farmers, business owners, neighbourhoods, students, and the poor. His jobs and infrastructure proposals would go further by earmarking billions for job training, schools, mortgage support, business loans and more, for under-served communities, including Black Americans. There will certainly be lots of debate and controversy regarding these proposals as well as the idea of reparations, but, as Roy L. Brooks, a law professor at the University of San Diego, has written, we have an “opportunity to bring home to the American people the enormity of the atrocity that was visited upon African-Americans for 250 years of slavery and then another 100 years of Jim Crow.”

 

Explore…John 15:1–8

  • What other language might you use in place of “pruning” to describe changes in attitudes or new insights you have experienced over the past year?
  • How has your faith community or where you live experienced change that might be described as “pruning” to encourage new growth?
  • In what other areas of life today do you see “pruning” happening, or the need for it?

 

Prayer…

Oh, God. Change is hard. May we have the courage to face our fears as new insights and hard lessons offer us the possibility of new life, as individuals, communities, and nations. Amen.

 

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