In 1980, our family moved to Waterloo, as I would start a new job of teaching and coaching at Waterloo East.
Waterloo had the largest percentage of black Americans of any city in Iowa in 1980. This week our son David recalled I gave him a book on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and urged him to read it. He wrote on Facebook this week he would soon learn why I gave him that book to read. One of his first friends was a young black American living down the street from us and they walk to school together.
We have witnessed the “stress between” black Americans and the American society this week in a shooting a week ago in Ferguson, Mo.
All of the old hate and distrust have surfaced in America again in Ferguson.
The 1954 Supreme Court Decision ended segregation in American schools. In the next 15 years, our nation faced many conflicts in the south and in the north.
In the three high schools in Waterloo, busing was used to allow about 19 percent of enrollment of black students in each high school. In fact, on many mornings, I followed empty buses going across the river to pick up black American students to transport to other high schools.
Today in America, and the world, we have instant information coming to us 24-7. This can be both good and bad.
All media wants to be first to give us the “breaking news.” Sometimes mistakes happen in reporting the news first. Media now includes texting, cell phone cameras and Facebook to expand the coverage. Sometimes, this information can be one side of the coin and not show the other side.
America has watched court cases where “race” has been the issue. While justice was sought in all those cases, people have arrived at a conclusion from the media.
In Ferguson, Mo, we do not know the facts and we do not know the “why.” There is one certainty though — God has been the creator of all people.
St. Paul addressed this in Galatians 3:28 -29 “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”
These words were written many centuries ago, but they have been rejected. The rejection continues to bring pain, hurt and death to God’s families. This pain, hurt and death will stop only when we accept Jesus as the son of God. In God’s kingdom, people will discover to live in love, mercy, grace and peace.
Halfway around the world, we witness the endless struggle going on with Israel and the Palestinian people. This struggle has happen for thousands of years. The love of God was never accepted. Jesus accepted all people in his ministry. He granted them love, mercy, grace and peace. Let me say this again, Jesus healed and taught to all people in his ministry.
Even when Ferguson, Mo., reaches some kind of conclusion, there will be need in Ferguson, and for all Americans, for healing. Healing can only come to us through the love, mercy and grace of Jesus as we accept him as our savior.
Peace will happen only we can live as “sisters and brothers in God’s Kingdom.” With a deep sigh, I pray again for the love, mercy, grace and peace of all persons regardless of any differences in sex, shape or color.