This past Friday our collective memories of old stories were stirred and shaken. Passover reminded us of blood on the doorposts, the angel of death and the hasty escape of the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. Good Friday reminded us of the horrific and brutal crucifixion and death of Jesus, our Prince of Peace. The local news that day reminded us of the Tulsa race riots of 1921. Over the course of a few hours, five African-Americans were targeted and shot. Three died. Racial fear and uncertainty began to grip our city. Suddenly Tulsa was in the national spotlight.
The two suspects were arrested on Easter. That helped ease the tension. Their apparent confessions helped more. Their motive for doing this, on the other hand, is a speculative business. Words like hate crime, revenge and mentally unbalanced seem to be mixed together. Pastors, community leaders, city officials, and Tulsa Police worked together the whole weekend to protect our citizens. They sought unity in the face of divisive fear and anger. While not there yet, we seem to be learning new lessons from our old collective stories. Trust and faith are stronger than fear and anger. We do not have to repeat the horrors of the past. We can change ourselves and our communities.
We live in divided and divisive times. There is something that all of us can do to change the tone—stop the name calling. We can stop the dehumanizing of people by simply eliminating the shameful, hurtful and mean words that come out of our mouths. Try it at home on your family. Try it when you talk politics or religion. Try it when you are talking about others. Test yourself today. How many times today are you tempted to call someone a _____?
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Bless others. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.