Marching Orders

Feet to pavement, people are marching all over the country.  Every month, there seems to be a new outcry.  Life in America has become one of continual outrage.  Speaking for one segment of the population and at a time that doesn’t seem too distant now, James Baldwin stated quite emphatically, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

This generation commands us, “Stay woke.”  Or, keep watch.  But, like Jesus’s sleepy- headed disciples, we yawn, stretch and get comfortable again.  Because it is easier to slumber than to resist.  We won’t put up a fight even when we know it is right— not for Jesus or justice.  We go down easy and are asleep before the coverage of the march begins.

Tired of praying hands, we fold them.  Tired of shaking hands, we hold them to our side.  We hold our position and won’t budge an inch.  No compromise.  “No, you come over to our side.”

We become the wall that we don’t want built.  We keep each other out of our lives long before we talk of kicking them out of “our country.”  But, we have been this way before; this feels like a revolving door.  We put exit signs on dirt, on God’s earth.  “Where do we go from here?”

It seems that we are going in circles or perhaps, our issues are cyclical.  They come around again for each generation to face and to speak to.  Marching around the walls of hatred, bigotry, violence, economic exploitation and oppression, we ask ourselves, “When will it end?”  It will come down, just one more round.  Keep it moving.  Don’t give up now.

Blood spilled, the ground cries out and we come to its aid.  It is a natural reaction. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”  It speaks to us, which is why we put our foot down.

Marching orders our lives.  One step in front of the other, it is the dutiful procession of discipleship.  “Onward, Christian soldiers,” the hymn writer sang.  Because we are not following Jesus down a yellow brick road but to the cross.

His way is one of suffering and yes, death.  Don’t expect the full support of any one.  The crowds will turn on you.  Just ask Jesus.  Quite literally, they are eating out of his hands one minute and they are nailing them down in the next.  But, he did not back down or back up and neither should we.

You have your orders; now march.

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