There was more than just a knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck.
There is the obvious human, physical weight of Derek Chauvin – muscle, bone, tendon, tissue
But Pressing in from above is also the weight of his bias and whatever history in his past that led him to hold so small a view of a human life.
I lift my eyes higher, and I see all of the black and brown people who have been killed because of the color of their skin…from Emmett Till to Allen Brooks to Ahmaud Arbery.
The pressing in continues as I see the countless black men, women and children who were stolen from their native homes and held captive by a white society that claimed Jesus as Lord and insisted on their own superiority.
I see the many men, women, and children who would die in slavery, never knowing freedom.
All of this weight presses through George Floyd’s neck and onto the chest of every black and brown person in this racially divided America.
The burden is heavy. And we are tired.
Sometimes the burden blocks out any light so that it can lead me to wonder and ask of God – where is there hope in the middle of this darkness?
The weight of 400 years 8 minutes and 46 seconds killed George Floyd.
The weight killed Jesus too.
It was there on the cross…Pierced in his hands and feet, taking his last breath.
Jesus, help us to remember – you are a God who knows what it is to be weighed down by the sin of this world. You took your last breath on the cross but it was not your last breath forever. On resurrection day you show us that you alone have power over all evil and hate, and you ask us to give our burdens over to you.
Protect us from the one who prowls, seeking to destroy and lead us away from you and into hopelessness, bitterness, resentment and despair.
When we are tired, give us strength to persevere and seek justice where you have placed us, to allow the burden to propel us forward to good deeds for your glory.
Grant George Floyd’s family your comfort and be their refuge during this time. Our hope is that he is with you in heaven.
And LORD, when the weight lands on our chest and it is hard to breathe, help us to not be crushed by it, but to trust you, to take your pierced hand that lifts us up from the asphalt and to recall your words that breathe life into our soul.
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned…For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.”
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
This article was originally written for AND Campaign, a coalition of biblical Christians engaging the sociopolitical arena to support policies affirming human dignity and advancing justice. To learn more about AND Campaign and support their mission, click here.
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