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Essay

How Long, Lord!

By April 9, 2015 One Comment
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I awoke yesterday to an all too familiar scene on the news . . . another black man gunned down by a police officer. A bystander caught it on video.

How long, Lord, must we call for help,
but you do not listen?

Eight shots fired, five penetrating Walter L. Scott’s body, at least one piercing his heart.

Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?

He was unarmed.

Why do you make us look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

The officer cuffed Scott as he lay dying. Nearly lifeless.

Destruction and violence are before us;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

The officer dropped an object by Scott’s body, perhaps the taser gun that he claimed Scott had torn from his body.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.

Another officer appeared; neither demonstrated any urgency to administer first aid to Scott.

The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

Trayvon Martin

Eric Garner

Michael Brown

Tamir Rice

And too many others

It’s been four days since we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, God’s gift of eternal life come to us in the here-and-now. Four days since we sang our alleluias once more.┬áNow we seem to return to a perpetual Good Friday. “It is finished,” yes; but brutality and the destruction of life prevail. An impossible possibility. And so we cry again with the prophet:

How long, Lord, must we call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make us look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before us;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

Habbakuk 1:2-4 (plural pronouns added)

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