This has been a rough week in our country. At times I’ve needed to disengage from the news and social media because it’s become too much. We heard the news that 100,000 had been lost in our country due to COVID-19. We’re still in the middle of the biggest health challenge our country has faced in my lifetime. Then, too, our nation has erupted into protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. Peaceful protests in many places were co-opted by looters. We were presented by the images of chaos in many cities across the country.

I get most of my news from reading rather than watching, so I’d only seen pictures of George Floyd before writing this article. I went and watched the video before writing this, and I have a hard time saying anything now. As a pastor I usually want to offer a quick moral lesson, but after watching the video of his death I’m searching for words. The challenge is that while people like me see that video and feel sad, African Americans, though, see the video and not only feel sad but also remember all the times they’ve suffered, or have been afraid, or had to quietly endure a racist experience. Our black and brown sisters and brothers see George Floyd dying and know it could easily have been them.

We’ve got to do better. We all need to do some soul-searching and ask how we all can do better in our lives and in our nation. We have to call on our leaders to be better, too. This can be a moment where we change and grow, or it can be a moment where we give into despair and choose to do nothing. I quoted Cornel West in my sermon last Sunday, where he said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” If we are people who believe we are called to love the world in Jesus’ name, then we have to be able to ask why our brown and black neighbors don’t always get the same treatment our white neighbors do. Love isn’t only something that is practiced in care between two individuals; love is also shown in how a people and a nation treat all its citizens. This is a moment that calls us all to be loving in a public way. This is a hard moment, but this can also be a moment where we answer the call to do the hard work of love.

Grace & peace,

Jason Jones