Thursday, August 14, 2014

Connections to Ferguson, Missouri

I am geographically far from Ferguson, Missouri.
My husband’s last name is Ferguson.

Michael Brown was the young victim on August 9, 2014.
My husband’s first name is Mike.

Journalists have been arrested by police in Ferguson, MO.
My husband is a journalist.

So I feel unusually connected to this event so far from home. I sent e-mails to the pastors and staff of the five PCUSA churches closest to Ferguson to let them know I’m praying for them. I heard from one pastor who asked me to pray for a hard rain, because that will keep the police and the people off the streets. 

I’m working on my sermon that includes conversations mothers have with their African-American sons, tweets from Gaza to Ferguson that offer advice on how to survive tear gas, and my friends’ posts about their relationships with police. I’m preaching on Psalm 133, “how blessed is it when sisters and brothers dwell in unity” when unity seems far away.  I’m preaching on Jesus’ problematic prejudicial words to the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. I’m praying for justice and peace, and for all to recognize that racism is still a huge problem, fifty years after Freedom Summer.  And I’m praying for my sisters and brothers in Ferguson, Missouri.

 “Without justice, there is no peace, there are just pieces.”
Elias Chacour, Ibillin, Palestine, to my seminary group, January 1989.

“May we be the peacemakers and the life affirmers
who are harbingers of the Beloved Community.
 In the name of the Most Holy we pray.”

Richard Gilbert, Prayers for Victims of Violence