On my journey with Christ, here is one thing I hold onto with every fiber of my being: God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful.
That's what keeps coming to mind as I try to process what's happening right now in Ferguson, Mo. - in these United States of America. That’s what I’m trying to remember in my prayers.
When news of Michael Brown’s death first broke, my prayers were for his family and friends, and for justice. When I saw his mother on television, I broke down, saying aloud: “Jesus, have mercy.”
My prayers were for blacks who had been killed extra-judiciously - that is, those who had been killed by police, security officers or so-called vigilantes. As the protests turned into riots and looting, my prayers were for the local community and for the larger African-American community that was in so much pain.
As we waited to learn the identity of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, I prayed that things would change for us - for our community to be reconciled with the promise that is America. When I found out the officer was named Darren Wilson, I prayed for him.
God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful.
During the continued protests and unrest, my prayers were for safety. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
After I engaged with police apologists on social media, it almost hurt too much to pray. These were people who called Michael Brown a “thug” who deserved what he got and described the protesters as “animals.” Such words devalue black lives, and they came from those who were overwhelmingly white. And Christian. At least that’s what their social media profiles suggested.
It hurts that people who love the same God I love would so callously devalue the lives that matter to me. I’ve written about racial reconciliation before and I still hold out hope for it. Some day. And a little less every day. Yet I still pray.
My prayer for Ferguson - for all of us - is to seek God’s justice and mercy. The soul of Michael Brown calls out for it. The people of Ferguson and beyond cry out for it - for their voices to be heard.