“Cowardice in the face of injustice is damnable. God is not mocked. In this time of brutality, you will reap what you sow.”
Bullets fire. Bullets strike. Bullets kill.
Jesus got ahead of the bullets.
Leaving work, Jesus had to take a second to compose himself in his car. After a few deep breathes, he headed home. Though the drive was short, Dallas had a way of making sure that it was hell. Though he never liked the looks of the building, he was always glad to see it at this time of the day. Grabbing his bag, he slowly moved to the door. The key easily slid in and out. His heart was heavy and he didn’t know why. In silence he reached out to God. Peace returned. Dinner was short and sweet. After a few calls, he dozed off. In the darkness, evil came. Just like in Gethsemane, he was unsure of what to do. Every step was heavy. Rounding the corner, he squinted to see. Unsure of what was happening, he saw a figure at the door. Before he could take too many steps. Two shots rang out. As he bled out on the floor, he saw a woman. Amidst the pain, he managed, “Forgive her for she knows not what she’s done.” Botham Jean was dead.
Jesus is the way. Sometimes pain is too great.
To be embraced. To be loved. To be human. Every encounter prepared us for the next. Cameras and lights assembled before us. I could see the apartments were he was murdered. There was something holy about that space. There was a resurrection there. We were drawn to the microphones by the impatient looks on the faces of the assembled journalists. Every speech was beautiful. I kept being drawn to the face of Botham Jean. By the time I stood to speak, I had a word from the Lord. Though I talked for a few minutes, I only remember one sentence, “How our we supposed to love our neighbors as we love our self…when they are coming into are homes and murdering us?” The Gospel became relevant to our moment…our movement. God was with us. God was amongst us. God would not fail. There would be justice…and there would justice now.
Jesus is the way. Sometimes it’s hard to see.
Night grew rowdier by the second. Screams and shouts illustrated the grief. In the midst of it all, I stepped forward to speak. Puzzled faces looked back at me. Stand and deliver. Megaphones sometimes weigh me down. Not tonight. I shouted as loud as I could. Botham Jean was within me. “God damn white Dallas! God is here! Not there! You can’t know God without marching down Lamar!” Our feet carried us closer to Botham Jean. We stopped where he died. People began to block traffic. That was our way of sharing the Gospel. We marched again. Horses pushed back. Pepper balls rang out. Justice was not slaughtered. Despite choking and headaches, people moved in closer and closer. One of those assholes aimed his weapon directly at me. I could smell the fear. Truth is terrifying. Rage grew. Amidst the sickening injustice, tables started to topple. There would be no stopping us. By the time we made it back, people could barely see. We walked by faith and not by sight. I arose to bless all of those who made it to the end, “Our God is justice. Now, let us go and worship.” Salvation was ours. Then, we wandered into the night.
Botham Jean died so that we might live.
Can you feel it?