My grandaddy on my father’s side had klan ties. He wasn’t blood related, my dad never knew his real father, and somehow that makes me feel better, as if blood has anything to do with the way we’re blinded by hate and lies and all the separating we do when we make people less than or other. I’ve come to know that blood is the only thing that sets us free but that’s another story.
Needless to say, I never really knew him. My dad was born into the dirty south in the 1950’s. He was threadbare poor, the kind of hard cold empty and wrong sides of the tracks life that had him in and out of juvenile detention and finally making his way on his own by the age of 11, living like a feral child to escape the sadness and abuse that lived in every corner of that desperate life.
One of his earliest memories was his grandaddy leveling a shotgun over his shoulder on the rickety porch and pulling the trigger. A black man, I never knew his name but then neither did my dad, had gotten drunk and made a lunging grab for my great-aunt and so my great grandaddy took care of him. That was the story. Nothing much came of it. He went to jail for a bit but my dad remembers his mama bringing smokes and playing cards and the time wasn’t really so hard at all. He didn’t get sent away. But you wouldn’t back then, not there.
We have roots but they’ve been dug up and replanted when my dad found Christ, or maybe it’s the other way around but either way, my mom, a half Korean/half Japanese woman wouldn’t have been an ideal choice and us kids would have been half-breeds.
My dad went back years later, packed us kids and my mom and road tripped it across the country and someone called us that. Mongrels. His precious babies.
It’s hard for any of us to believe this kind of stuff happens anymore. We watch 12 Years a Slave and we weep sorrow at the roots of our nation. At the chains and oppression and we want to say not anymore. But anyone with any media savvy knows it’s all lies we have to tell ourselves to keep us comfortable in suburbia. To keep us docile and dormant instead of storming the gates of heaven and praying for his Kingdom come. Instead of stepping outside of our bias and small world views and seeing that Christ has come for a broken world and we don’t recognize him in the black man, in the foreigner, in the immigrant, in the wealthy day trader, the conservative homeschool mom, or the ranting blogger.
Who is your neighbor?
Because there are still chains, and arms, and so many swords in the world. And some look like machine guns and tear gas and mortar fire with gaping holes where babies once slept. And some look like privilege and ignorance and brutality and some look like apathy and the slack-jawed yawn of the those not fully alive in Christ. And some look like unholy tongues and the tearing apart of souls. Mongrel.
There are so many dividers and barriers and barricades to truth. There are tanks and lines of military and police and they’re just a few states over tonight. Does anyone care? But they’re always somewhere making war or trying at peace. We’re always somewhere tearing apart the world. Right here with our words, or silence, or bias, or voices so loud we can’t hear Jesus whisper, I’ve come to bring about my Kingdom in you.
There are souls mourning the losses they’ve carried their whole lives, the lies of the less than. And there are souls filled with rage and violence, brimming to the surface, battering down and oppressing. There is anguish and lament and we cannot hear it over the din of our everyday lives.
We are consumed by our own kingdoms.
Things haven’t changed so much for all we believe to have learned and grown.
I walked through this day with heavy shoulders, sagging under the weight of words I’ve carried close and the burden of so many broken things.
And I want Kingdom, the big kind where we’re a body for each other, moving together in spirit, holding tongues of fire and the burning narrative of truth, I want a blazing center, and hands of every color willing to get messy and bloody and blistered with the world’s pain and raise it as an offering to the only one who heals and reconciles and makes new. I want tongues of nations and a melody of praise and I want the solemn listening ears of patience and mercy and faith to believe all things and hope all things and that kind of love never fails. That kind of love never fails.
I want Kingdom that makes the world look on as if beholding glory. I want Kingdom that makes a fuss and hushes down low and humble to serve and rises up and stands arms linked to defend the shattered ones. Didn’t Jesus come for this?
Let us be about this! If we be anything at all, let us see Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.