This post is part of the Ferguson Reflection: One Year Later series. If you have a reflection on Ferguson, please share it with us at email@example.com
These words which began the chain of events that gave birth to the Movement now remind us of two things. The first is a simple one. The universe hinges on small seemingly insignificant words and doings. Because our nation will never be the same, the world will never be the same. Given our cultural, economic, and military might at this moment in history what changes the United States changes the world. In this case, words spoken from malice and hatred set in motion a chain of events that are most aptly described as evil materializing in our midst; specifically, the evil of death at the hands of white supremacy. I sometimes wonder if this wasn’t another of Satan’s wagers with God with Black people being the current embodiment of Job. But, it is never simply the case that a chain of events set in motion to glorify evil and to “moon” God ever end up where they were intended.
Christians have an odd thought that while evil may yet abound, God can bring good out of it. And it is not just Christians. When his brothers sought to do evil unto him, God used the particular placement of Joseph in terms of geography, time, culture, and moment to bring about the salvation of a people who were not even Joseph’s kith and kin. The movement that is Black Lives Matter is just one of those moments when God takes Satan’s wager and uses ones who have been beaten and scorned by their own brothers, sold into slavery, had all manner of false witness born against them to manifest the power of life in the face of evil, the power of hope in the face of despair, the power of communion that is community in the fast of shattering and scattering power of smoke bombs, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And because God seems never satisfied to just meet Satan’s challenge simply, She put the 6 No Uptown into the hands of Black Queer Women, just so the usual suspects couldn’t make this another instance of Satan’s using an earlier gambit–hetero-normative patriarchy, to seemingly having the last word.
So, as the Saints (you don’t have to be a Christian or a theist to be a saint for and to me) who are BLM go marching past into the jaws of evil, hurt, and suffering to embody Hope for us all I would suggest that you/we not bet against the particular card that God is playing at this moment in this on-going wager with Satan. And that if the street is starting to feel a little too tight and a little too uncomfortable that you might just consider it wise to Get The F*ck On The Sidewalk.
Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr., serves as the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher professor of systematic theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He is also the author of Do No Harm: Social Sin and Christian Responsibility.