Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nobody killed Freddie Gray.

When I lived in Jerusalem, one of our Palestinian mission partners wrote an article for a United Methodist Publication.

The article was about Gaza.

The article mentioned that one of our church-funded projects had been damaged by "Israeli bombs."

The article got a lot of criticism. People were upset that they author had written "Israeli bombs." They said it sounded blaming. They said it sounded one-sided.

So. Nobody dropped the bombs. That clinic bombed itself.

Yesterday, in Baltimore, it was decided --
 -- Yes. Notice the passive voice. --
that nobody killed Freddie Gray.

I stood on the corner where he was arrested.
A mural on the wall, now.
A community garden across the street.

Nobody killed Freddie Gray.
His spine crushed itself.

And what if I told you
that it was U.S. bombs
just this week
that killed 50 civilians
in Syria?

Would you flinch at "U.S. bombs"?

Did those children bomb themselves?

And I think of Jesus, on the cross --
      saying, "Father, forgive them."

He prayed to God to forgive.

In that moment, he could not do it himself.

And I imagine the devil --
     having returned to Jesus at this, the next opportunity,

"There is no them, sir. There is only you. You did this to yourself."

Somebody pulls the trigger.
Somebody drops the bomb.
Somebody makes the call,
    drives the van,
            some human body
                 is responsible.

And so:
    if, like me, your hands are not so clean --
    if, like me, you can be hidden inside the passive voice --

The kingdom of heaven has come near.

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