Anyone who knows me well is fully aware that falling asleep is not problematic for me. However, Wednesday December 3, 2014 was much different. I received news that the New York policeman who choked Eric Garner to death in full view of millions of people all over the globe would not be indicted. Questions and concerns loomed in my mind relentlessly and sometimes uncontrollably. One minute I was thankful my sons were grown men now and had families of their own. The next I trembled because it seems age makes no difference. Black men being killed by policemen has no age restriction. Then the fear for my six grandsons growing up in a law enforcement and a legal system that has little regard for their lives moved me between fear and disgust.
I share this space with my brothers T (Thabiti) and Carter (Tony). When it comes to issues like this, I usually leave the writing to them. What they say represents me so well. I have grown accustomed to reading their thoughts and simply saying, “Amen.” However, after listening to a talk by Kevin Smith, I was convinced I could not sit this one out.
Like my Brother Carter, I have been in several conversations about the recent police killings of African-American men and boys. Church members with hurting hearts have come to me and want to know how their pastor is thinking about these events. I prefer those conversations over writing any day. It’s much better when people can see the hurt in your face and feel the pain through your body language. I trust you will recognize sensitivity in my words.
Laying there Wednesday night, as sleep evaded me, I wondered over and over again, “Is there a word on this, what biblical insight can I draw upon?” As I tossed and turned and ran biblical passages and accounts through my mind, by God’s grace, I stumbled upon an obscure biblical character whose life and approach to a national crisis in his day soothed my soul.
His name is Mordecai, and you can find his account in the book of Esther. Now, before I go any further I am fully aware of the danger of tugging too hard on biblical characters due to the great distances between us in time and culture, and mostly the role they played in redemptive history. With that in mind I found some wisdom in Mordecai’s response to his national crisis in his day, and hopefully you will too.
One of the obvious characteristics of the book of Esther is the fact the author never mentions God. I, for one, sense this was a deliberate omission. It demonstrates God is present even when He is most absent. A lot of people are feeling in some ways God is absent and perhaps unconcerned about the recent events in our country. The book of Esther says He is not absent and He is absolutely concerned with what’s going on. He is just as present now as He was in Mordecai’s day.
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SOURCE: The Front Porch