Many of us reacted with outrage at the verdict to not indict Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO last week. While that verdict may have been a foregone conclusion, it still spoke to the outrage of racism in our country; not just in the outrage of African Americans who face the danger of being killed every day but of the white outrage of citizens who expect more from their government. The answer to this outrage is to hasten a change, not just in laws and policies but in the way we deal with others. It’s not so much class warfare as it is a journey of the soul. The stories that were not shown from Ferguson teach us that there are many ways to get to the table together. Blacks and their white allies standing guard over businesses to prevent looting, and the scores of young people, black, white and brown who came in after the riots to clean the streets. You see, we can hasten what I believe is a coming change. Just as the immigration issue will be sorted out by a changing American population, so too will there be justice.
After the Ferguson verdict, there was a spate of people standing on Freeways and stopping traffic. In Los Angeles, police arrested 131 people, after stopping up traffic for miles on the 101. In San Diego a group of UCSD students stopped the I-5 for twenty miles before the police negotiated for them to get off (interesting that in LA they were arrested and in SD they were urged to move on). I was interested in the commentary especially from young people, including people of color, Michael Brown’s age. While they understood the outrage, and they understood that by only inconveniencing the status quo would change occur, they also believed it was naïve and hurtful to target innocent working people who were only going to work. “The people who make the laws” one young person explained “don’t drive on the freeways.” “Besides” said another, “we are all going to get to the table someday. The rich white oligarchy will crash in the revolution of the coming generations. That is what the hunger games movies are telling us.”
The first shall be last, and the last shall be first, proclaimed Jesus. Jesus, the apocalyptic Jewish peasant who invited everyone to his table at thanksgiving realized the inevitability of balance in the cosmos. Change occurs because empires must fall. It is in the nature of empires to topple, wrote Howard Thurman, and so it is with us here: The Table For ALL is coming. Maybe not in our lifetimes but it is coming.Blessing to you this advent season, John