Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara of Holy Redeemer, June 08, 2020

Pastor Barbara’s Devotion for Monday, June 8, 2020

Dear Church,

[Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21

I remember seeing photos in magazines of civil rights demonstrations when I was a kid.  The demonstrations look different this time, and that gives me hope.  Do you see what I’m seeing?

This first picture, photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash, which was taken in 1963 is much like the ones I remember from when I was a little kid. 

The second photo, by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash, is from a few days ago, appropriately taken in black and white.

Do you see what gives me hope?  In the sixties, the demonstrators were, for the most part, all African Americans.  I remember having the belief, in 1968 when I was an idealistic 8th grader, that sympathetic white people shouldn’t co-opt the movement, that the struggle belonged to those who were being oppressed.  Although it is true that the struggle belongs to the oppressed, the fault is with the oppressors and the oppression has continued to this day.  Photos and movies for decades have brought that clearly to the forefront.  And now, the oppressors are clearly joining the side of the oppressed in a way that has never happened before.

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Wanda Sykes, an African American comedienne spoke to white listeners, “ It’s like, we can’t do it alone. If we’re out there marching and asking for change, you know, we need white people to do it. We need white people to tell white people to stop being racist. Because when we do it, obviously it’s not working.”  Good to know!

Many of the demonstrations this week have featured white people showing up in droves to protest, to protect, to pray, and to promote the belief that when one of us hurts and is oppressed, all of us need to enter into the work to free them, and prevent oppression from rising again in the future.  I believe that Christ is rising up in our society, whether in Christians or not, to let the oppressed go free!  I pray I will do all I can to help, and that we can all continue Christ’s liberating work together.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Barbara

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