Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

A white female police officer shot down an unarmed black man named Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa. I am like the prophet Daniel when he said he was “greatly disturbed ” by the vision God gave him of what is to come. We are headed for a civil war if something doesn’t give soon.

In the meantime, what are we supposed to do when our people are being murdered in the streets by cops and each other?

In the song, “Love’s going to get you” KRS1 tells an all too familiar tale of a young black man trying to escape poverty through drug dealing. The young man has conflict with a rival drug dealer that ends up in a gunfight with the police. The story ends with his friends being shot by police and the guns pointed at him. He asks, “now what the  #%# am I supposed to do?!

As Christians caught in the cultural crossfire of racism and faith, dual citizenship, and classism, what exactly is our position?

Jesus was caught in a similar position. He was a poor Jew under an oppressive Roman regime trying to give hope to his people that were divided by race and class. The Jewish people loved him as long as the good news was directed solely to them. But when he included the Samaritans, a mix breed race, they tried to kill Jesus.

Jesus spoke truth to all sides. He spoke truth to his people, to people outside his race, and to the powers that be. He gave us a format to what the church ought to be doing in times of conflicting cultural wars

  1. The Spirit of the Lord is on us to preach Good news to the poor. Much of the domestic violence and crime we see across America is rooted in poverty. The good news that Jesus preached to the poor was a life of abundance for people living in scarcity. It wasn’t prosperity preaching but it was spiritual empowerment. What are we doing in church besides giving pep talks to the middle class? What is the good news to the poor?
  2. He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. There is a disproportionate amount of people of color in the criminal justice system. The war on drugs was really a war on poor blacks trying to escape poverty through easy access to “illegal” drugs. Christian advocates for justice must do something to cut the pipeline to prison, which starts with illiterate children in grade school while at the same time fighting for criminal justice reform.
  3. He has sent us to help the blind see. Ice Cube said it best in the movie, “Boyz-N-the Hood” ‘either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.’ We have to help people see beyond the partisan spin on television that wants to paint poor blacks as “dangerous black dudes” that need to be shot on sight. We are not colorblind; we are blinded by white privilege and preconceived notions.
  4. God has sent us to release the oppressed. Jesus came to set the captives free. There are so many people in bondage emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can truly set us free. Freedom starts in the spirit. Once you are free in Christ you are free indeed! This freedom cannot be chained. It cannot be legislated. It cannot be snuffed out by police corruption. It cannot be spiritualized with bad theology to protect the status quo. It’s dangerous when we live this faith out like Jesus.

Why do you think they killed Jesus? They arrested Jesus because he disturbed the status quo. He helped the poor. He befriended the people police were trying to arrest. The Roman guards beat him while in custody. They crucified one, they crucified two, now tell me what Jesus was supposed to do?! He died. He got up. So should you.

Dear God,

Our country is divided half for Trump, half for Hillary, half for the flag, half for Justice. Half for hate, half for love. There seems to be two Americas, one for the rich and one for the poor. Help us to make our minds on what we are supposed to do as we hear to the age-old question, “How long are you going to be stuck between two opinions? If God is God then serve him. If Baal (idolatry) is God then serve him…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord!’ Anoint me to serve your people. We can’t save the people if we don’t serve the people and we can’t lead the people if we don’t love the people. Love of the wrong things will kill but love for the right things brings life. Father I choose you (love)!

In Jesus Name,

Amen