Yesterday I heard the much-anticipated verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin: he was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd. Today I participated in a community discussion about this case, with many members of the congregation, and what it means for us.
This was the event that had repercussions around the world in street protests last summer. This is the case that shows how broken policing is in the United States. I felt great joy and relief at this guilty verdict: relief that the justice system finally worked in a case like this, when we have seen so many cases of police violence against Black people end with no punishment. Still, we see more cases of police violence day after day, which causes us to wonder if we are truly making progress.
Making progress is a political and civic question: we can measure progress in terms of laws passed and in terms of police data. And there is a spiritual component to this question as well. Are we making progress spiritually on this as a society? as a religious movement? as individuals?
It is a spiritual question to ask ourselves how racism and other forms of oppression can be overcome – first in our minds, then in our families, then in our neighborhoods. It is a spiritual question to confront human violence and begin to transcend it. A nation awash with handguns and violence takes a huge spiritual toll on its citizens.
May we be willing to do the internal and external work required of us: what does George Floyd’s killing show us? What can we learn from Derek Chauvin’s trial? What is the emotional and spiritual work we each need to do within, and what is the work of words and actions in community and public spaces?
Great spirit that abides over all, beneath all, within all, may we feel your presence now. May our best selves be called forth now: the most loving, wise parts of ourselves. May we be filled with love and wisdom, but also with determination and power.
There is a way forward, through love and community.
May we see beyond all disguise of outward difference, to the truth that we are all one and we are all connected. We are connected to all other humans, to all living creatures, and to all of nature.
May blessing come to Mount Pleasant. May blessing come to Minneapolis; may blessing come to Columbus and Chicago and Detroit. May peace and justice be increased on this day, through our will.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
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Rev. Andrew Frantz
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