“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
On Monday I wrote a blog post Freedom In Christ, in which I stated that America is uniquely obsessed with “freedom.” You can see it in our politics. You can hear it in our daily discourse. But we’re also, amazingly, a country full of fortunate people who are constantly grumbling about their lack of freedom.
The American church has forgotten the necessity of lamenting over suffering and pain. In the last 30 days, a total of 864,203 Americans have died. and 70,641,725 have contracted the Covid-19 virus1 Yet there are people refusing to get vaccinated or wear a mask for their own and others safety. The CDC has provided guidance for curtailing or preventing transmission of the virus. Everyone 5 years and older is now eligible to get a free COVID-19 vaccination shot. If not, wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.
Misinformation and disinformation abounds on social media. Squabbles and rallies are taking place over mask mandates Athletics are defying requirements to get vaccinated before participating in sporting events. Governors are removing mask requirements in local schools and the public square.
While, I’m not suggesting anyone do what they are legitimately uncomfortable with for health or other personal reasons, I encourage people to do what is right. It grieves my heart to hear a mother fearful of sending her children to school because they or their classmates may get sick. As a mother who has lost a child, I completely understand what grief looks and feels like when your child passes away.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, newly elected governor of Virginia recently signed an executive order declaring an end to mask mandates in public school systems, reaffirming the rights of parents in the upbringing, education, and care of their children. The order says parents have the choice whether or not students wear masks, and teachers can’t require them to. 2
What grieves my spirit about this type of decision making is that it ignores the concerns and rights of other parents and the welfare of all school age children and staff who would prefer some level of protection and comfort as cases in Virginia rose by 7,155 Monday due to the Omicron variant.
Gov. Youngkin issued several executive orders on his first day. Another that has left me with concern is banning critical race theory to “restore excellence” in schools and ban “divisive concepts.” 3 I was born and raised in Virginia during the time of racial segregation in the 60’s. I first experienced racism at the age of eight when my parents sent me and my siblings to an all white school in the early 60’s as schools began to desegregate. When I began third grade I was the only “black” student in my class. I was too young to understand the significant impact this would have later in life. During the first few years it was really difficult. Despite the bullying and feelings of isolation, I managed to press through the humiliation and pain no child should have to experience regardless of the color of their skin.
“The time is always right to do what is right“Martin Luther King Jr.
I was among one of the first African – American students to enter an all white elementary school. What I didn’t know was that this experience was ordained by God. A few years ago the Lord impressed upon my spirit that this experience was meant to prepare me for things to come. I believe that time has come to break silence on the many injustices and disparities all people are facing in America. EQUALITY
From the Scriptures, we learn much of lament. Recall David, Job, and Isaiah in their respective times of mourning. Their grief is symbolized with ashes and sackcloth, and marked with honest, anguished cries. … And there is Rachel, “weeping for her children” with “lamentation and bitter weeping” (Jeremiah 31:15).
In the midst of a global pandemic, perhaps we recognize a greater need for spiritual truth and Christ to come again. Life in quarantine, along with racial tensions, political upheaval, and an insurrection that left several people dead has exposed the complexities of pain and suffering in the world. We feel the pain and suffering that exists in the world, yet we know that Christ is Lord. We grieve the current order of the world, yet we believe that Christ will deliver us. He came to set the captives free (Is. 61:1; Luke 4:18). The kingdom of God is here, but we have yet to see the new heaven and new earth that is coming (Rev. 21).
Jesus warned that in this world we will have trouble. But take heart! He has overcome the world (John 16:33),
Prophetic Lament is a call for justice in troubled times. Lamentations is a book that can and should speak into our current circumstances. A call for us to live as the faithful and repentant people of God in our violent age. The message of Lamentations the message of Lamentations applies to the convoluted contemporary issues of justice and racial reconciliation.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping, and mourning; And tear your heart and not merely your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in mercy And relenting of catastrophe. Who knows, He might turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him,” (Joel 2:12-14)
“Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, “Spare Your people, LORD, And do not make Your inheritance a disgrace, With the nations jeering at them. Why should those among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”Joel 2:17
The day of the Lord is coming; Indeed, it is near. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but a sound mind to discern good from evil, justice from injustice, and right from wrong.
May the Lord’s blessing be with you. May He lay a firm foundation of the testimony of Jesus in your life!
Minister A. Francine Green
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.
1 COVID Data Tracker. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailycases
2 By WHSV Newsroom. Jan. 24, 2022 at 12:33 PM EST. Virginia COVID-19 cases rise by 7,155 Monday. https://www.whsv.com/2022/01/24/virginia-covid-19-cases-rise-by-7155-monday/
3 Brooks, K. Jan. 17, 2022. Gov. Glenn Youngkin enacts 11 day-one executive orders. https://www.whsv.com/2022/01/17/gov-glenn-youngkin-enacts-11-day-one-executive-orders/