As I thought and prayed about Ferguson today I found myself at a loss for words – but yet so many thoughts, hard to contain. I do not know how to express them all. Yet – as a pastor, I do not want to be silent upon these matters. I do not want my church to be silent upon these matters. For my faith community – I will have more to say this Sunday, and through the Advent season as we explore Jesus’ birth and the birth of a resistance movement to the culture of oppression and death (the Church). But for now – I have this. A poem of sorts, but not really. This is my attempt to express my thoughts and refuse silence. Each line, bursting with a thousand thoughts that need to be explored and wrestled with. But yet each line feeling so inadequate and ill-prepared to face the weight of human suffering.
Let the Resistance Begin
Let us not move quickly past this moment –
On to turkeys and TV and football games.
There are some of us who are hurting so deeply –
So thoroughly, so truly.
But does anyone hear?
Does anyone care?
I see that there are some that are saying –
“Justice is served, now let’s have peace.
Stop your riots, get back in place.
Go back to work or go to the mall.
Your economic value is most important of all.”
But there are others that are saying –
“No, there is no peace here!
There has not been peace here in a long time!”
The system is not broken, it is working just fine.
You see, from the beginning, this was the way it was designed.
To protect the popular and powerful,
And marginalize the outsiders
There is a history here that just won’t stop turning.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Let the Church hear it’s voice
We are ambassadors of reconciliation
Standing with those that are hurting
And pushed aside
With those living in Ferguson.
Our commission is all the same
Let us dine together – breaking the bread of our Lord
There is not black or white, no male or female, no social caste
Just people – created in the image of God.
Let us eat together and share our stories and our lives –
We will listen to one another.
We will care for one another.
We will join hands and cry and pray and hope.
Then we will stand up and walk out together.
The liturgy of our faith written by our feet
Into our neighborhoods and places of work.
We will not let go.
The Word always takes on flesh.
When there is injustice upon you, there will be injustice upon me.
For we are all brothers and sisters in the same family.
We are linked by blood.
Things cannot go on like this any longer.
The status quo cannot be unquestioned.
The prophets must be let loose.
The walls of this castle of privilege must come down.
Too many are hurting, too many are crying.
We long and wait for the day that Jesus will return and make all this go away.
But until that day we must be who God has called us to be.
The Church – bold and meek.
Not silent nor full of fear.
Ready to be martyrs for Peace, Justice and Jubilee.
The place where the systems of power meet their end
The place where the pains of racism and elitism are done away.
The place where love wins
To be the people of unity – no matter our skin.
And so we wait for the day – and at it’s dawning we pray –
When, inside our lives we receive the Word
Our Deliverer comes!
To a people that have longed for hope – our Deliver comes!
And just like Mary prayed, so do we:
“God has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
God has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
God has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.”
Let the resistance begin.
(Jason Butler is the lead pastor of Transformation City Church in Milwaukee, WI)