May 29, 2020 - Alarming

When I woke up this morning my alarm went off. No, it was not my clock alarm; rather it was the thought of so much racism and hatred in America. I said to myself, "Self isn't the effects of the pandemic on African Americans and all people enough to deal with right now!"

When I heard the story of a white woman calling the police on a black man in Central Park who happened to be bird watching, it was alarming. It caused great consternation when it was revealed on video that her story was made up and the white woman was alleging that the black man was threatening her life. We give kudos to Christian Cooper for keeping his composure throughout the entire ordeal. I felt great pain for the dog and Christian Cooper. Just imagine what the outcome could have been.

More alarming was the most recent incident involving a Minneapolis Police Officer and Black male who was handcuffed. The police officer kneeled on the black man's neck until he died. If you were to view the video, it will bring tears to your eyes.

"Being black in America should not be a death sentence," Mayor Jacob Frey said at a news conference, via the Star Tribune. "For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man's neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you're supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense. It serves as a reminder of how far we have to go." 

Of course it is not always about police brutality, for in some instances, citizens take matters into their own hands. A young Black male is killed while jogging outside of Brunswick, Georgia by supposedly two or maybe three white men. It is sad and unthinkable that something of this magnitude could happen in 2020. What is more frightening is that the attorneys for all three men charged have said that these men have not committed a crime.

My point is that we accept these three cases as a warning to all of our young Black males to be careful at all times. You can be minding your own business and someone can accuse you falsely. You may even be innocently in the right place, but at the wrong time. It is my hope and prayer that all of us might understand that racism is still prevalent and alive in America. If I had a young son, I would wake him up right now, early in the morning and have a conversation with him about racism, hatred and love. Yes, I have three daughters and we have discussion regarding all three, but emphasis is placed more on loving our brothers and sisters. There are good and bad people of all races. There are good and bad people in all vocations.  May our voice speak for peace and harmony throughout the land!

My opinion has always been that lots of people take on the behavior of a leader. This statement is not directed to any specific leader, just leaders in general. Even in the church, if the pastor is jovial and loving, I believe the people will be jovial and loving. If the boss on a job is mean spirited, the employees take on some of the boss's behavior.  Just imagine how wonderful and beautiful the world could be if everybody loved everybody as we are required by God to do.

We are called in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 that "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophesies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass."      

These are trying times and times of uncertainty. Let us use our voices to speak out and speak up as so many in high places are now doing.

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor