I love being a bridge builder. In many instances, it feels like a unique and special calling that is on my life. I love being able to identify with both sides of a problem and helping find solutions that connect people rather than tear them apart. This sensitivity is a gift and has served me (and hopefully others) well.
But sometimes, I feel that bridge building has to take a back seat to simple solidarity. Bridge building and reconciliation becomes secondary to simply standing with those who are on the receiving end of injustice.
This morning I heard yet another story of a black man being murdered by the police. The list has gotten so long that we can barely recall all of their names. Names of men and women and boys whose bodies are considered so criminal and so worthless to our justice system that due process is no longer a right. The wounds of our country’s racist past are showing themselves. Our implicit bias is on display. Our inability to honor the image of God in dark, Black skin is parading itself yet again.
I spend a great deal of my time trying and hoping to explain to my white brothers and sisters that these murders aren’t occasional incidences but that they reflect a legacy of brutality towards the black body that has existed from this nation’s conception. But today is not a day for explaining. Today is not a day for building bridges. Today is a day for solidarity, for grief and for lament. Because as Alton Sterling’s blood cries out from that Baton Rouge clay, I know that the heart of God is mourning with the loss of this man’s life.
How long, O Lord? How long?