S (Scripture): Psalm 10:17 Lord, you listen to the desires of those who suffer.
You steady their hearts;
you listen closely to them,
18 to establish justice
for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that people of the land
will never again be terrified.
O (Observation): Many of the Psalms are examples of God’s people crying out for help as foreign powers overtook Israel, God’s people overtaken and oppressed. Many of the psalms are examples of God’s people showing full dependence on God to help them through their current predicament, in order to be brought to safety. God’s people seek justice. God’s people seek to be made whole again.
A (Application): How appropriate for a text like this to come up on a day when we recognize a national leader who sought justice for all people, especially for equal rights for African-Americans in our nation.
A lot of people think we are a post-racial society. That we are beyond racism. That many folks fought for equal rights for blacks and that all is well now. Yet that is simply not the case.
Bryan Stevenson – author and lawyer – has spent years seeking justice for black men and women wrongly accused of crimes. He shared that truth and reconciliation are the two components necessary to bring about healing and health. Stevenson says that in America we have sought reconciliation without truth. That is an empty reconciliation.
As in the psalm for today, we seek out God to establish justice for the orphaned and the oppressed. Martin Luther King Jr, Bryan Stevenson, and so many others call upon their fellow Americans to seek out justice for all people. Without knowing the truth of our ugly history, how can we truly reconcile?
Here is some homework for you…some things for you to look up:
- The 14 Words
- Black Wall Street
- National Lynching Memorial
This research you are about to do is part of the truth-telling that is needed to seek true reconciliation with those we have hurt in our own backyard.
Whether anecdotal or systemic, many truths must be reconciled for us to come together in harmony.
So take that first step. If you’re the praying type, pray. Then take the time to research these items I listed above. Then, get involved with MLK activities today. Learn more today. Participate in conversations (or host a conversation) on race relations. Find someone with whom you disagree (but love dearly) and try to figure this out together.
Whatever you do will be worthwhile. This endeavor will bring joy and frustration, hope and helplessness…my hope is that this process will break you down, but build you back up with a sense of purpose to seek liberty and justice for all.
P (Prayer): Lord, you guide us in the way of truth and justice. Don’t fail us now. Amen.