Someone said it this weekend in one of my social media feeds::
Baltimore:: the world is watching.
After yesterday, I am now confident this statement is true.
My family watched the reports from the streets of Baltimore throughout the day on April 27th. When the time came to close our day together, instead of our normal time of stories and prayers, we turned on the live news coverage… allowing the violent footage to fill our home… allowing the hopeless madness to invade our thoughts… allowing the chaos to move our emotions… allowing the tension to fill our eyes with tears.
As we watched the community center on the Eastside of Baltimore burn, and the emergency responders work, and the bystanders move about, and the reporters speak… we allowed these images to fuel our compassion and shape our prayers.
These are not the times to shield our children from the effects of delayed justice and prolonged hopelessness. These are not the moments when we turn our attention to a meaningless diversion. These are not the days when we seek the pleasantries of distraction. These are not the seasons when fear and destruction should go unseen and unnoticed. This is the time for the work of peace.
This is the time to engage injustice and hopelessness with the power of love… first in our homes, then in our streets.
Yesterday, in my morning prayers, the closing words centered upon the seeds of peace::
We profess to be people of peace, Lord, but keep us from the temptation to proclaim peace when there is no peace. Show us today where peace is most needed in our community and in our world. Show us which of us must plant the seeds of peace, which of us must water them, and which of us must yet become gardeners of your peace. Amen.
+ April 27 (commonprayer.net)
I love Baltimore. Not just for the architecture and history. Not just for my memories as a traveler. Not just for the proximity to the city I love. And not just so that anyone else may see me saying this.
I love Baltimore because there are men and women engaged in the work of peace and justice in those very streets. These are men and women who love Baltimore. These are doers of justice among the poor, the overlooked, the powerless.
The work of peace is not without painful wages.
Joining the hopeless will always come with a cost.
I do not pretend to know the path to justice for all in the streets of Baltimore, but I will not hesitate to express my dedication to pray for those who are doing the costly work of peace, and to anticipate the culmination of this work. I will wait to see how my family and I may provide support, and in the meantime I will not step back from seeking justice in my own city alongside those who are working for peace in this sacred place.
These are not the times to judge from the distance between. These are not the times to take sides between. May we be quick to remember that justice exists in the space between.
These are the times to seek the justice between.