A Lament for Eric Garner

A year ago today, a grand jury declined to indict a police officer for his role in the death of Eric Garner in New York. In his book Prophetic Lament, theologian Soong-Chan Rah wrote a prayer-poem, inspired by Lamentations 5, on behalf of Garner and Michael Brown and suffering black communities throughout the United States. It's excerpted here.

Remember, Lord, what happened
to Michael Brown and Eric Garner;
look, and see the disgraceful way they treated their bodies.
Our inheritance of the image of God in every human being
has been co-opted and denied by others.
The children of Eric Garner have become fatherless,
widowed mothers grieve their dead children.
We must scrap for our basic human rights;
our freedom and our liberty has a great price.
Corrupt officers and officials pursue us and are at our heels;
we are weary and find no rest.
We submitted to uncaring government agencies
and to big business
to get enough bread.
Our ancestors sinned the great sin of instituting slavery;
they are no more - but we bear their shame.
The system of slavery and institutionalized racism
ruled over us,
and there is no one to free us from their hands.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives
because of the guns on the streets.
Michael Brown's skin is hot as an oven
as his body lay out in the blazing sun.
Women have been violated throughout our nation's history;
black women raped by white slave owners on the plantations.
Noble black men have been hung, lynched and gunned down;
elders and spokesmen are shown no respect.
Young men can't find work because of unjustly applied laws;
boys stagger under the expectation that their lives
are destined for jail. . . .
Woe to us, for we have sinned!

Taken from Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah. Copyright (c) 2015 by Soong-Chan Rah. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com


Anonymous said…
'The system of slavery & institutionalized racism ruled over us, and there is no one to save us, and there is no one to free us from their hands, .... Woe to us for we have sinned!'

What am I going to say - I cannot say anything - anything I say will fall into the / - 'what would know about us, that you feel you can comment, white woman' - insult.

Is it that we are sinners & therefore, as a matter of course, we are afflicted with persecution ?
Indeed, anything that is not white man, is Job, given over to Satan by God Himself -
The Book of Job 1: 12:
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Well, at least we know why the people of difference in skin color, to the white skinned, white man are inferior and therefore set upon by the Devil himself.
It seems to me that Job was betrayed by God - that God gave Job over to Satan, so as to humor his advisory.
BUT - here on planet Earth & as mortal beings - & not some silly characters, in a silly book, written by primitive minds, over 2 thousand years ago - we are real people, living life in the real world & we have the capacity to act, to change the power structure - from "not white man rules" but the criminal element & the demented power monger allows lawlessness to run rampid.
It is not white ma that descriminates it is the evil man that descriminates to their advantage -
Sin has nothing & everything to do with it.

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