June heat filled the summer evening. The air felt appropriate for a church picnic with iced lemonade and kids running in Hogan’s Fountain. But I put on my thick black robe instead of my flip flops. Standing outside on the corner, I was surprised that the heat didn’t oppress as much as I had feared it would. The black robe in the summer heat wasn’t oppressive because the truth we had come to name was far more oppressive than anything I encounter as a white minister in America.
This summer with our distance-socializing and healthy-at-home abiding, we are stepping into a new season addressing old sins. We are looking at our country through new eyes, sharply tuned to others’ suffering with pandemic clarity.
The robe may have been hot, but it could not distract me. The familiar ritual of placing crosses on the lawn felt like climbing up into God’s arms to act out our faith in the only way we can—leaning heavily upon our Savior who bears the unbearable with a power not our own.
For four weeks, crosses fill our front lawn with the names of Black individuals killed by the police. We speak their names because God called them by name first. On July 23, we’ll retire the crosses until their return for Advent. Take a moment to come by Grinstead and Cherokee sometime before then. Marvel at our God who speaks, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43).
Family of faith: God is still making a way in the wilderness. Christ is still leading us where we would not go on our own. May we walk with courage and compassion, knowing that it is the walk through the desert that changes everything.