A few weeks ago I read a couple of articles on the devastating bloodshed happening in Iraq and neighboring countries.
I saw horrific pictures and read tragic stories from those who had escaped, played dead, hid or ran...from those whose lives had been spared that day.
I remember feeling sadness for these mothers and fathers, sons and daughters on the other side of the world. I also remember thinking to myself, "I am so glad that we live in a place where war is not at our doorstep. Where we can let our children run in our neighborhood without fear. Where we can worship in the auditorium down the street in confidence that we will make it home for lunch. Where we can ride our bikes to the coffee shop downtown and not encounter a single threat."
A few days later a small town in Missouri made history.
And I sat with my head in my computer for evenings on end, watching with the rest of the country as riots and violent protesting carried on for days and days. My eyes became red and bloodshot from staring at my five-inch i-phone screen late into the night.
I read the latest news posting Saturday night before bed, and by the time I woke up the next morning another head had hit the pillow of the ICU in Ferguson, having been shot in the night.
The web became a buzz with reactions to these tragic days.
I wrestled with so many thoughts as I read... trying to reconcile what I grew up believing about black people and white people and this thing called racism, with the deep sadness that I felt for the black community.
And I was always told that racism was a thing of the past and that as soon as everyone stopped talking about the atrocities of former generations, everything would be fine.
Well, I do agree with one thing, we can certainly stop talking about the atrocities of the past, because we have been given enough conversation fodder in recent weeks to carry us for the rest of our lives.
Here is the thing, we have to start talking about it, reading about it, feeling about it.
Because to be honest, it is far too easy for me (and others too, I think) to not think about the hundreds of people suffering from Ebola in Liberia, or the thousands of people that have been slaughtered by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, or the homemade bombs flying through the air in Ferguson, MO.
All of the voices of these hurting people can be so easily drowned out by the hum of lawnmowers and children laughing in the streets of my hometown.
It's almost like they aren't really real. But they are.
Hearts and bodies are breaking in a thousand different places all over the world while I make sandwiches, and do dishes, and pray with my kids before nap-time.
So I pray this for them, for me, for us:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
(The words of Jesus, Matt 6:9-13)
Come Lord Jesus, Come.