For a number of years I regularly watched a programme called “The Walking Dead.” It was based on people surviving a pandemic and hiding from killer zombies. As I am not a fan of science fiction or dystopia, I can’t quite believe I watched it, but I did.
Today I again watch television. People are randomly murdered by lawless groups, even “lawless” law-keepers. Building and cars are torched in cities across the US. Crowds rage and destroy. Crowds gather and protest. A virus spreads across the globe and kills at alarming rates. I almost feel I am watching a programme rather than the news.
Yet, like watching the videos of people slain, I find the images traumatic. They are not just worrying, they are frightening. What is happening in our world? Will this rage lead to change or simply destruction of individuals rather than destruction of oppressive systems?
When I see the images, I wonder, “Is this the end?” When fear is not my driver, I have hope. I hope that it is the end of a system that fails to value all lives, an end to labelling the lives of people of colour as less valuable, expendable even. I hope it is the end of us white people failing to hear or change or live differently. I hope it is the end of economic systems which fail to reward people for working. I hope is the end of education that leaves out whole histories or fails to respond to the needs of children from poorer economic backgrounds. I hope it is the end to corrupt governments that uses money to maintain wealth and power in one segment of society rather than caring for all people in their nations.
Some with look at these events and label the people involved in the protests as trouble-makers, as the problem. They will fail to hear the cries for justice—though how can you fail to hear?
I hope, instead, we can look at these events and see an end to injustice. I hope we can listen to the voices raised and ask how can I support the cause of justice for people of colour? I hope we can see through the posing of the powerful and stand with Jesus. I hope we can follow in the footsteps of the oppressed to bring about what is good and equal and right for all people.
Jesus came to stand with the outcast and oppressed. He calls us now, not to cling to power out of our own fear, but to join those calling for justice. I hope we can join him, rather than cower in fear, hiding from the coming change.