I live in a bubble. Not a perfect bubble, but it is pretty insulated. But no bubble exists today for the city of Baltimore, as it has been burst wide open. Monday’s riots were described as “crazy,” “chaotic,” and “surreal.” Protesters were outraged over the death of Freddie Gray and what they perceive to be undue racial profiling. Their grief is real and it is raw.
Protesters took to the streets chanting, “No Justice, No Peace!” Fires were set to businesses, rocks were hurled at police, and looting was rampant. The governor was forced to call a state of emergency for the city. Schools were cancelled, a curfew was set in place, and the National Guard was brought in to enforce safety. (Source: The Baltimore Sun) Obviously, the violence was out of control.
America the Beautiful is now seen as America the Broken.
So what is a bubble-dwelling Christian to do in response to such a broken situation? Pray. I can pray for peace and healing to come to a broken city. I can pray for my words to be used to extend grace and love rather than oppression and hate. I have no idea what it is like to live as a young, black male in gang-ridden neighborhood, but I can pray for him. Just as I have no idea what it is like to be a local law enforcer in a dangerous city, but I can pray for that officer.
There are prejudices that I don’t even know exist just because of the family that I was born into and the color of my skin. But others have to deal with them regularly. Prejudice happens to all races and all genders. I think the cry is how can we be more aware of these “hidden” prejudices? Instead of hurling the axe, what can we do to improve our own ignorance and receive grace for ourselves and give grace to others?
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
There will undoubtably be social injustices in the future. And there will be additional riots to ensue. Just as there will be personal prejudices to work out amongst ourselves. But we do have hope in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. And until He returns, we can pray.
Take heart, Baltimore. We are praying for you.