Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not At Home In My Own Home

What evokes thoughts of home for you?
The rooms? The pictures? The colors? The aroma? The people that dwell there?

I recently sat in a busy airport waiting to go home. Excited to see my family, to have a home cooked meal, to kiss my husband and to rest in my own bed.  There I stood at 5am waiting with people hustling with their morning coffee and conversations and I overheard a man telling his friends, "A black man was shot, but he should have been shot. What was he doing anyway?"
This comment was made after hearing news reports of the police shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK. Crutcher was seen in the video with his hands up and it has been confirmed that he was unarmed.
This was a brother, a son, a father, a man- a valued life.

How could anyone rejoice in murder in cold blood?
I was headed home but didn't feel like America was home anymore.

Sitting in an airport in a city that I love like home, in a country I love calling home, preparing to go to my beloved home, but accepting that this world just isn't our home.

Airport conversations cause great pause.

My heart is broken.
My soul is tired.
My tears are endless.
I weep for black lives that seem to be the next 'endangered species.'
I weep for police officers that have been gunned down as they have served their communities.
I weep for the gay community that was attacked in Florida.
I weep for public servants who are either overworked and underpaid, who are often judged and feared or wrongly accused, under appreciated and killed in the line of duty.

I also weep for families whose loved ones have been killed by officers who are using their jobs as a playground for hate crimes instead of protecting lives and honoring the badge of service.
I weep for white lives.
I weep for yellow lives.
I weep for those sent to prison on trumped up charges.
I weep for those that assume that all white people are racists and for those that assume that all black people are racists.

I grieve for friends who dissolve relationships because they cannot handle having friends who share different political or religious views.

I weep for non-Christians who have not found the Saving Grace of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and I weep for the persecuted Christians of the world.

I weep for young and old lives, sons of mothers and fathers and husbands to countless women who are gone too soon.

I weep for my husband and your husband, my brother and your brother and I weep for cousins and friends who could very well be the next victim. I weep that our country often victimizes the victims.

Instead of accepting blame, the truth is often turned on its head and innocent lives are snuffed out without cause because of presuppositions based upon fear or ignorance or racism.

I weep for waiting children who are hoping against hope in foster care to be adopted and feel misplaced and rejected.
What area of life do you feel out of place?
What are you waiting for?
I am waiting on equality for all men and women, for systems that protect everyone.
I am waiting on the global church to have a greater impact that places feet on the gospel that we preach.
I'm waiting on numbers to decrease in blacks being murdered and in deaths at the hand of police officers.
I'm waiting.
Discouraged but not deflated.

As an African American that takes pride in living in the United States which is a world filled with endless opportunities and one that has provided me many privileges, a great education, lasting relationships and appreciative exposure, but I no longer feel at home when I am not sure that my husband will return home each night safely.
I'm waiting on the African American man to stop being hunted.

The country that we love and call home doesn't feel like home anymore.
Are we really who we say we are?

Are we acting like "the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Home is a term that typically brings on thoughts of refuge and peace or images of safety, warmth, unconditional love and acceptance.

What happens when home is not home anymore?

Some of you are reading this blog and may feel like you are in a season where you are rejected from your own 'home.'

Is that portrait of home symbolic for you of the job that you once loved where you no longer are welcomed or is it a church that you called home but now you are a stranger?  Is it a society that deems you invisible and invaluable or a relationship where you no longer feel relevant and heard?

Sometimes home never changes.
Sometimes our home changes regularly.
Sometimes it changes seasonally.
Sometimes our view of home changes because we change.
Other times, the hard truth about home is exposed and we are forced to sit in the tension of the mirror reflected of 'home.'
The American picture of home looks better in the prestigious frames of fairytale than it appears when we actually walk the great halls of its history and its modern-day reality.

I don't know if there has been any other time in my life that I have felt more like a citizen of heaven and less of a citizen of earth than right now.

I am comforted because this is not my home.
We should feel like strangers on our way to a better home, our permanent home with our loving Father God.

If you feel like you don't belong, know that you are in good company.
Guess what?

Jesus didn't feel at home in his own home of Nazareth.

Esther was a hidden Jew in a Persian palace.

The woman with the issue of blood couldn't be at home in her community due to sickness.

***Sometimes we must leave home in order to feel at home.

Popular songstress and R&B chart topper Beyonce, sings a powerful song entitled, "Listen." I love the empowering, sultry 'anthem' because everyone knows the frustration of having a voice and not being able to use it and the freedom of finding it and refusing for someone to take it away again.

It is a song that reflects the silent screams of a voice waiting to be heard.
It is a message that we too must develop courage to share, to be heard and to listen.

Dear America,
We have helped build a country that sees some of us but not all of us. We have educated your children, built your homes, supported your businesses, established businesses and institutions and empowered many generations even when we didn't feel empowered.

We are not a perfect people and like you, have sins and regrets that some of us have misplaced anger, have reacted out of rage for feeling unheard, have rioted or developed social entitlement, have been racists in acts or in thoughts, have ignored others and relied on enablers who have kept us from fully rising or have wanted or taken handouts. We have wrongly accused and judged, forgive us for violence, ignorance or naivety, but we also want you to acknowledge your sins as well, your institutional racism, exclusivity, violence, over aggressiveness and sin in acts or thoughts, your judgments, your misplaced anger, your fear and moments of over or under reacting, your societal amnesia and blindness, your arrogance and superiority complex, your enabling or moments of being enabled, your handouts given and taken, your riots, your passivity, your
mis-education of black people and the misrepresentation of many people, your naivety, ignorance, your one-sided-ness, hypocrisy, your passion to protect life in the womb and yet your rejection of some lives outside of the womb, your resources that have often been available but are under utilized and your system that is not intentional in protecting all.
Please. Listen.

May God grant each of us His mercy and forgiveness.
May we hear and see one another.

May we strive to live in peace on earth until we may live together at the feet of Jesus where suffering and sin will cease.

We are waiting for that great day.

God has prepared for all Christian believers 'a building not made by hands.'
My soul rejoices that it is a home that will not decay and will not become corrupt.
It is a home where I can take off mortality and put on immortality and a home where each of us will be leveled and death will die and the only view that will matter is the face of our Eternal Reconciler.

Today in a world of despair we can have hope that is an eschatological hope.

We cannot put our hope in people or things or in systems that are not built to protect everyone or provide the illusion of safety but are deadly and dangerous.

We must redefine what home is.
If our hope is built on anything less than Jesus Christ, then our home will perish.

As Americans, home can not be based solely on people that are occupying it.
It cannot solely be based on patriotism, pedigree or popularity.
It can not be a place that we have established. Those homes are fleeting.
Home is my safe place, but my earthly home is subjected to weather damage and burglaries, but my heavenly home is secure.

As Christians we must remember what the word of God says we should build our homes with and by what means it should be established.
Proverbs 24:3-4
Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 3:33

Even when we are hurting we are hopeful because We have a home where God abides and is preparing to receive us unto Himself. John 14:3

Long for it.
We weep and wait.
We will grieve, share, pray for one another, speak up, support one another, hear views that are different and legislate.
We must not be silent.
Let us hope in the midst of hurting.
Let us see God even in the midst of despair.
May we long for home.
We are only passing through.

Dear Lord,
Hear our prayers, interpret the silent groaning of our hearts and show your compassion even now.
Make us One in the Spirit. Teach us to live in peace.
Help us to wait and long for you, precious King. Make us a reflection of your heart.
Thank you that we are only home in Christ.
We wait for you.