Fifth Sunday of Lent
"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour." (Jn. 12:20-33)
I empathized with Jesus in John's gospel today as we read this text, "I am trouble now." However, my concern is much different than that of Jesus. Jesus is referencing his imminent crucifixion. He ponders whether or not he should request that his Father save him. And yet, Jesus understands his purpose in this world. Unfortunately, I am troubled by perhaps another series of protests on the horizon that some may turn into ill will, destroying homes and stores instead of protesting the blind justice in our country.
Disconcerting is how the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd may prove that the blind goddess in this country lives. Remember the horrific 8:46 minute video of the officer whose knee pressed the neck of Mr. Floyd? Our country can no longer review these heinous videos and return a not guilty verdict when police officers use excessive force. Unsettled biases continue to bandage the irritated eye of the blind goddess. Historically, at least three videos used in previous court cases showed excessive police force charges dropped:
Video: Officer shot Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma in 2016.
Video: Officer choked Eric Garner to death in New York in 2014.
Video: Officers beat the crap out of Rodney King in LA in 1991.
We need something more than a video to destroy the systematic racial tricks from this world's ruler. The blind goddess' blurred vision suffers from many years of unfavorable court decisions between people of color and the law's officers.
Then there is the news that Minneapolis awarded Mr. Floyd's family 27 million dollars for the charged officer's actions. The news media reported a Cornell University law professor Valerie Hans saying:
The settlement's impact could be mixed. Minneapolis' move to settle may suggest to potential jurors that the city thought Chauvin was in the wrong. However, the substantial size of the settlement might give people — including jurors, if they hear about it — a sense that the Floyd family has been compensated for the wrong done to their family member, which could lessen the urge to punish Chauvin and the other police officers by convicting them.
The judge, in this case, shared his displeasure of the news about the settlement in this manner, speaking to the prosecutors, saying, "You would agree that this is unfortunate, wouldn't you?" "That we have this reported all over the media when we're in the midst of jury selection?" These comments infuriated me.
If we ever needed to lift the name of Jesus, we sure do now. I don't want to imagine what could happen if this officer joins the parade of other officers who walked into the sunset without a conviction. Therefore, the jury needs to hear these words by Jesus, "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me."
We need juries to follow Jesus and "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream," as the prophet Amos said. (Am. 5:24). The judge and the court system need to follow Jesus as well. We need protestors to "do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with [our] God" (Mi. 6:8). And those contemplating ill will, lift your cross and follow Jesus; he wants you to have everlasting life.
Authored: Evangelist Michael P. Howard