It has been a little over two weeks since we witnessed the death of George Floyd. Almost a week ago, his family, leaders of Minneapolis, social activists, and others gathered for the first memorial service celebrating George’s life. Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a powerful eulogy, honoring George’s life, legacy and the hope that this time will be different.
Rev. Sharpton asked for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, to close the memorial service. This is the amount of time Minneapolis police restrained George Floyd, knelt on his back and neck and ended his life. This is one of many images that I have watched as news coverage of protests continue. The mural of George Floyd, with the words “I CAN BREATHE NOW” etched across the bottom is a poignant tribute to this tragedy.
Pictures and videos have shown us at our best. Protestors protecting a storefront so it would not be looted, policemen and women marching with protestors and kneeling in solidarity with those asking for change. People walking and gathering together to seek justice and bring voice to the systemic racism which is too much a part of our nation’s heritage.
Unfortunately, there are also pictures which show us at our worst. People breaking into stores, smashing windows, destroying merchandise and looting. Setting buildings and cars on fire with little regard for who might be injured. Police officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground and then walking by him without stopping to determine the extent of his injuries.
I wish that I could find the right words to bridge the gap that racism has caused and is causing in our nation. I also wish that we could have the conversation that would truly begin the healing process, laying the foundation for a new and better relationship with one another.
There are other images that have helped me during these past two weeks. Items I have taken for granted in my home, which are bringing me peace and comfort, in the midst of the sorrow and anguish I am feeling.
On one wall in my living room is a cross I received from Haiti. People from all over the world are painted on the cross illustrating that our Savior is there for all of us. In my kitchen is a cross made out of the name of our Savior. And there is also a painting of Jesus surrounded by a crown of light which hangs in my study. These are ways that I am reminded that God is with us. Especially during this time, our Lord continues to walk beside us. And when necessary, God lifts us into His loving arms to comfort us. May we continue to lift up one another in prayer, and share God’s love with one another, as God has shared His enduring love with each of us. And Amen.