I realized something as I watched the Derek Chauvin trial last week, while simultaneously preparing for Holy Week messages. George Floyd’s death had something in common with the death of Jesus Christ. First, both were executed by their government, or by select individuals acting on behalf of their government, anyway.
Another similarity, which I could not get out of my mind all week, was that so much has been made of the manner of death Jesus faced, namely a suspension between heaven and earth upon a cross. We have become so accustomed to this crucifixion process I am not sure how often it occurs to us that the cause of death is asphyxiation.
To say it again – Jesus couldn’t breathe.
Need we be reminded that Jesus submitted himself to this treatment, knowing full well how he would die and what that might feel like to endure? George Floyd, on the other hand, was not given a chance to submit himself, but was at the mercy (such a strange term for something lacking) of the Minneapolis Metropolitan police force.
No one asked Mr. Floyd to give up his life for the benefit of millions. No one could ask to receive redemption for what he had suffered. There was no good death on the part of Mr. Floyd because like his Savior, Mr. Floyd was murdered.
Perhaps one redeeming thing will come from this tragic and preventable death; perhaps fewer men and women will die at the hands of law enforcement, sentenced before having a chance to declare their innocence.
Whether you follow this trial or others like it or prefer to preserve your sense of calm by avoiding prolonged statements and testimonies and political spin, nevertheless, continue to do what you can. Continue to pray.
Pray for those who endure the restrictions society places on being in need, of being vulnerable, of being different. All of us at some point may have been in one of those categories. Pray for those who do not see the humanity in the other, but due to occupation, prejudice or malice see only those who are alike and not different.
Pray for the people who feel helpless to change a system or speak truth to inappropriate power, though because of their humanity they feel the pain of others. Pray that before the next George Floyd meets the next Derek Chauvin justice will have taken back the power from those who seek to grab it.
Lori Broschat is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, soon to be taking a step away from traditional parish ministry to do some emotional healing. She lives and serves in her hometown church, where she is fortunate to have most of her immediate family also present. She also has her daughter and grandsons just a few blocks away. She is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and began in ministry in 1997. You can watch her preach on Facebook at First UMC Devils Lake @1stUMCdl
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2 thoughts on “The Pastoral Is Political: Doing Our Best to Breathe”
I wondered if others had made the connection, as I did, between Jesus’ death by asphxiation and George Floyd’s. And the trial was going on during Holy Week. I didn’t have the nerve to put the connection into a sermon, but I shared it with a few people who would get it. Thanks for this post.
Thank you for your affirmation. I can’t share this from the pulpit without ruffling feathers, but I am grateful for this venue.