Even when we feel in control of the fire, even when we’re adept at handling the knives, it takes courage to step into the kitchen to wield these potentially lethal instruments. Even when we think we know how the dish will be received, there is always some uncertainty whether what comes away from the heat of the oven will taste exactly as we expect.
The grand jury decision handed down last night in St. Louis County, Missouri which brought no charges against the Ferguson police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown leaves more than a bad taste in our mouths; it has sparked nationwide outrage and disappointment – incredulity, but not surprise. It is a sad commentary that so many of us “saw this coming”. In the face of this reality, what does it take to move forward? To fix a justice system that so very often has no discernible relationship with actual justice?
We look around and we feel the heat of a fire burning out of control, and see the flashing blades of knives we are ill-equipped to handle. It takes courage to step out into a world where justice seems so often to be, not only blind, but asleep at the wheel. It takes courage for our faith in humanity to remain strong when it seems that all around us there are circumstances and voices and outcomes putting that faith to the test.
Today, I have few answers. Today, I have only prayers:
May we step forward into tomorrow with courage. May we work for justice with our greatest effort and fight for peace with our strongest convictions. May we keep our heads, hold fast to our principles, and react with prudence and integrity, from a position of Love. May we have the fortitude to bring about the changes this world so desperately needs – mutual understanding; universal compassion; and true, trustworthy justice – in open-hearted, non-violent ways.
Our anger is palpable, our despair is profound. As we stand in the fire, may we have the courage to restrain ourselves from reaching for the knives.