John 1: 6-8, 19-28
“I am the voice” v. 23
Yesterday, my home city of Washington, DC, became the host for the second time to the MAGA march.
At first, my husband and I completely forgot about the evil presence descending on DC, and we made a decision to venture out for cinnamon rolls and scenic dc views. However, as we neared the city and saw roadblocks, we quickly remembered what was happening.
We tried to safely maneuver the roadblocks in our car, then we entered into an intersection stuck between DC police, Trump supporters, and “proud boys.” There was a red light, and for the next 30seconds, an uncomfortable scene unfolded.
First, two white women with Trump affirming posters crossed the street, smiling in the direction of my husband and me.
As I watched them cross, my eyes panned to the black, yellow, and bulletproof vest-wearing “proud boys,” across the street, and in between us, were the DC police.
The whole scene was bizarre, and finally, the light turned green, and I felt like I could breathe again.
As the rest of the day unfolded, the discomfort I felt quickly moved to sorrow as I witnessed through social media, the horrors unfolding just miles away from our home.
Stabbings and Attacks towards random people of color.
Removal and Destruction of Black Lives Matter signs from black churches.
Erupting violence with no accountability from law enforcement or public officials.
And yet, unlike the weeks of protests in Summer led by Black Indigenous People of color organizers, these protesters were not met with tear gas and full militarized police forces. These protesters were left to roam violently and, only a few were held accountable for the immense destruction that was caused.
This is a reminder that there are two systems of justice in this country, and both systems fail my community and me.
So on this third Sunday, how are we called to reimagine our world from the weary and desperate places we exist in?
When we see Black Lives Matter Banners’ burning from Black Churches that remind us of the past’s burning crosses, what future are we called to see?
When we hear violent hate crimes and repeated historical traumas, what future are we called to see?
The words from the first chapter of the Gospel of John embrace the tension of our present moment.
In John 1, we encounter the introduction to the word of God, proclaimed through John the Baptizer.
In John 1v19, John the Baptizer is met with the anxiety and fear of the religious leaders. They want to know who he is and what he does, so they seem relevant to the times. Without skipping a beat, John the Baptizer meets the anxiety and fear of the religious leaders with unapologetic confidence, naming that he is “the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness. Make Straight the way of the Lord.”
Although the Pharisees and Priests have been guided by their fear. Undeniably, John the Baptizer walks in his truth.
And it is his confidence that encourages me at this moment.
It is his confidence in knowing who he is and what he does through baptism as a witness to God’s presence that is and that is coming, that testifies to the spirit of the living God then and now.
In the aftermath of this weekend’s violence, Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, Senior Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the two black churches whose black lives matters’ banner was vandalized and burned this weekend, wrote a response to the violence. She shared, “We are a people of faith. As horrible and disturbing as this is for us now, it doesn’t compare with the challenges and fears the men and women who started Asbury 184 years ago faced. So, we will move forward, undaunted in our assurance that Black Lives Matter, and we are obligated to continue to shout that truth without ceasing. We are assured that our church is surrounded by God’s grace and mercy.”
As John the Baptizer shouted to the fearful religious leaders the truth of who he is and what he is called to do, may we as people of faith in this Advent season continue to proclaim the truth of justice and liberative love that we have been called to live out.
As people of faith, our role in the wilderness of our time is to be that voice and proclaim a future where God’s love and justice are our reality.
May we always be the voice in the wilderness, confidently declaring what needs to be.
You are the voice in the wilderness, to whom are you proclaiming? And what are you saying?
Share with us what you are saying @ForCollardGirls.