Most of you know that yesterday, tragedy struck our community. A young African-American man was shot and killed by a police officer. While we have heard bits and pieces of the story—mental health issues, a knife, and a State Police investigation—there is much that we do not know. But here are some things that we do know.
- Most importantly, a family is grieving the loss of their son/brother. I can barely write those words without tears. I have four grown children and I cannot even begin to imagine the sadness and pain of the family’s loss.
- Many are wrestling with the loss of a friend. I know people who went to school, church and Bible studies with Osaze.
- Many from our sister-church, Unity Church of Jesus Christ, spent Wednesday night emptying their hearts and tears out to Father God. Their tears have joined the tears of people of color from Calvary as well, a part of the body of Christ is hurting.
- People in the broader African-American community are wondering why this happened and would it have ended the same if Osaze were white. Even if you answer yes, surely we can understand what leads to the question.
- People are divided. Defensiveness, judgment and unwise words are more common than empathy and listening.
- And an unknown (at least to me) police officer, whether his actions were justified or not, is surely wrestling with his part in ending a life. I’m thankful for those who serve us in this way and my prayers are with him, as again, I cannot even begin to imagine what he is going through.
So what do we do? Mourn. “Weep with those who weep,” was Paul’s advice. We don’t need to know the details to weep with those who weep. Listen more than we talk. Recognize that what you type on Facebook is probably a waste of heart. Seek to understand more than we strive to be heard. You are not betraying a loyalty to either side when you seek to understand. Be humble. Don’t get defensive at #blacklivesmatter…they do and they should. Humbly seek to be a bridge realizing that the best bridges get walked on from both sides.
Stand for justice and pray… I know that some mock the sending of “thoughts and prayers.” But I still believe that the solution is not less prayer and more action, but more prayer and more action. And without more prayer, I do not believe that more action will produce more peace or more life. You will hear a bit more on this, this weekend…but, for now, I’ll simply say that the last two weeks I have found myself praying over and over and over again… “Father give us justice against our adversary.” (Luke 18). Who is our adversary? The devil, the one we battle in the wilderness. “Father, give us justice against our adversary.”
I hate being at this moment in our community, but if I have to be in this moment, I wouldn’t want to be in it with anyone other than Pastor Harold, Unity Church of Jesus Christ and you. I love what God is doing in us…and I am expectant about what He will do through us.