Careful About Thanksgiving
On the eve of Thanksgiving Day, as this nation sets time aside to reflect on the many advantages and blessings of life we have enjoyed for many years, the news comes revealing the verdict of three white men in Georgia - Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Robbie” Bryan, Jr. – guilty in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man. Tomorrow, we will give thanks for a nation that has promised freedom, justice and peace; yet we are still confronted with a greater task of bringing healing and restoration to much brokenness and injustice in this country. So many people continue to be eliminated because of the actions taken by official and unofficial persons who claim to protect and bring stability to our community. While others rejoice today over the outcome of this verdict, we all still fail to embrace the greater promise of this country. Vigilantes that only fight for an unrighteous justice or even selfish peace never can stabilize a society that yearns for careful reconciliation and celebrative or conclusive restoration.
Of course, there are moments when it is difficult to determine who is right and who is wrong. Loving ones neighbor as oneself can bring some definition to what may seem confusing, contradictory or even camouflaged. Yet, our nation seems to have moved away from this biblical principle and embraced what is socially acceptable only to those persons who have the advantage. The spirit of this nation has become contentious, censured and careless.
It saddened me to say, but this verdict even though seems right only brings comfort to some of us because of our historical and recent exploits as marginalized people in this country. This event only turns another page on the injustice for which we must continue to struggle with and overcome. This is another moment to be encouraged, but never the solution to what we must continue to face in this country. This event, like so many we have already experienced, must remind us of the plight we are consciously and unconsciously faced as we seek to promote the changes we must perform among ourselves, in our communities and in our homes.
As we reflect on this day and other days that seem to remind us of our challenging experiences in this country, continue to stay focused, serve faithfully and stand firm on the principles of our faith.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Monroe, Senior Bishop and President
Board of Bishops – African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church