I see the villain spreading like a green laurel. But are my eyes too cloudy with endless tears to see the righteous?
I see killers. But where are the Christians? I see the killers. But where are the prayers? Where is this “old ship of Zion” whose spiritual songs once soothed our souls, led us on the path to healing?
I hear the moan of the grieving mothers. They rise above the cacophony of gunfire and chaos, where playing children run for safety. Where brother takes a murderous goal against brother. In a city where we seem insensitive to killing each other.
I see the carnage of another murderous summer day in Chicago, where mass shootings have become rife and the city’s gut response is a fucking shame.
As sure as the rising sun, the city awakens to the sound of cannon. To the carnage of another night, where in the streets flows an endless river of blood.
I hear politicians making the same old excuses, pointing fingers, sounding unnecessary. I see city officials throwing the blame, playing the same old PR game. Tell the story of violence without shame.
“Incredible urgency? ”
Excuse me, Madam Mayor, this is a state of emergency.
And yet, I’ve heard more political nonsense about changing the name of Lake Shore Drive than about how to stop the murder. Witnessed a motorcade on Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive in honor of the name change on Independence Weekend when Chicago violence was shameful: 104 bullets, 19 killed.
We specialize in minors and minors in majors – always. Meanwhile, the tree-lined neighborhoods have become battlegrounds.
Maybe we should rename our streets: Drive-by Avenue. Kill our kids way. Bloody outdoor training.
Because it is the city that bleeds under a powder blue summer sky. Where babies get shot and we don’t all cry.
Black bodies fall into the hood without protest, or a glance from Black Lives Matter. I heard that our assassination by us was not on their agenda. But why should the shooter’s color matter?
What is sadder is that I expect government, politicians and organizations to fail. But where is the church in the midst of so much hell? Please say.
The church. This historic anchor in the midst of the storms of black America and travels on hot coals. This church – without walls – which uplifted us when ole Massa assaulted the black bodies on the southern plantations with unspeakable horrors that could not steal our souls.
The church. It made us see the invisible and, by faith, cling to the substance of things hoped for. It made us whole, even when we were very poor. The church that reassured us is so much more to us.
Even in the face of hatred and degradation – only three-fifths of a person in our nation – the church has helped us endure and fight with patience.
The church that once did not feed us a pie in heaven, but inspired us, revived us, taught us to live by truth and not by lies.
The church that once, not so long ago, bowed its ear to the cries of any of them. It had that sacred spiritual balm that offers healing and hope to all who need it.
And yet, everywhere I see churches, even through tears in my eyes. But relatively few prayers on the streets where people are dying. And I wonder if “the church” still believes in the power of God. Or if the church has become just another lie.
At least it’s clear to me that something is wrong. Because how can so much so-called light and darkness coexist?
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