A Facebook post: "For every setback, God has a major comeback," sums up Holy Week. How will it play out in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin? Maybe God's comeback will be people embracing the belief that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers and Trayvon is our son, too.
Faith & Values |
I am a late bloomer when it comes to using social media. But every now and again I read a gem that speaks to my heart and spirit. Recently, I saw a post on Facebook that read: “For every setback, God has a major comeback.” That saying sums up this coming week, called Holy Week, for Christians.
Holy Week begins tomorrow with Palm Sunday and ends the following Sunday with Easter. The week is filled with ups and downs as we first celebrate Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. But by Friday, celebration is replaced by mourning as we remember the despair and sorrow of first-century believers who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion. As Good Friday fades into Holy Saturday, we are reminded that death does not have the final word on life. The joy of resurrection and eternal life greet us on Easter Sunday morning.
Periodically, like those first-century believers, we have such roller-coaster weeks, weeks when we reel from all that is going on around us. A perfectly ordinary week can be turned disastrous by a drunken driver, an abusive spouse or partner, or a youngster who takes a gun to school in a backpack.
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Not long ago, the Martin family in Sanford, Fla., had their world turned upside down as their unarmed teenage son, Trayvon, was killed by a block-watch volunteer who said the African American youngster walking through a gated community in a hoodie looked suspicious.
For weeks, the Martin family sought justice through normal law-enforcement channels to no avail. When the story hit the national media and social-media networks, the country was dismayed and pained by the lack of justice in this Florida community.
When going through heart-wrenching grief, seldom do we know where or when relief will come. Hopefully the Martin family can experience a bit of solace knowing millions in this country stand in solidarity with them. With the eyes of the nation on this tragedy, justice must prevail, and an arrest must be made.
The Martins’ loss could be the loss of any family in America. And far too often, it has been the loss of many, many black families through needless acts of violence that have killed black children and young adults. Although the Martin family’s pain will never end, perhaps their loss will draw more attention to out-of-control gun violence and relentless racism in America.
When pain becomes overwhelming, we can give in to the agony and become paralyzed, or we can try to find hope in the midst of sorrow. All over the country, people are crossing race, gender and class divides and talking about Trayvon, race and violence. No doubt there has been a collective setback regarding racism and violence with Trayvon’s senseless killing. But as the Facebook post said, “God will have a major comeback.”
Perhaps the Martin case will galvanize more churches and faith communities to get serious about caring for vulnerable youth. Hopefully, more churches will be out in the streets meeting youth and developing ministries that meet their needs and spend less time organizing banquets and annual days.
Organizations like the Atlantic Street Center in Seattle, the Y, and Boys & Girls Clubs need more than our spiritual support, they need our financial and volunteer commitments.
God’s great comeback in Trayvon Martin’s case has yet to be revealed. But I know that after every Good Friday, Easter is only days away. For me, this year’s journey toward resurrection is marked with anger, sadness, and hope.
God’s major comeback may very well happen when each of us embraces the belief that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper and Trayvon is our son, too.
This time, each of us has a part to play in God’s comeback.
The Rev. Patricia L. Hunter is an associate in ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church and senior benefits consultant for American Baptist Churches in the USA. Readers may send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org