I’ve been reading the book of Luke lately. In Luke Jesus does lots of cool things, and he tells these things called parables to the crowds who follow him. It made me want to write some of my own. These stories are made up. Don’t take them too seriously.
Jesus went with his disciples to the city, with a great crowd following him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the city gates. The boy, who had been shot and killed by a police officer, was the only son of a widow and many mourners from all over the city were with her.
It was a long procession. A long, long procession. The widow weeping and wailing at the front, and all the black mothers, and sisters, and girlfriends, and wives of all the dead black boys who had been shot and killed in the past year were weeping and wailing with her.
When Jesus saw the widow, his heart overflowed with compassion, “Don’t cry,” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it (defiling himself in the eyes of the Jews).
The pallbearers stopped.
“Young man,” he said to the strong, young black man lying stiff and cold in a winding sheet. “Get up.”
And the dead man sat up and began to talk to those around him.
And Jesus gave him back to his mother.
A few weeks later, the young man was driving from Jericho to Jerusalem, when he was stopped by a cop. “Just a routine check,” the officer said. “This is a dangerous road, and we need to stop suspicious characters. Plus you’ve got a taillight out.”
Somehow it ended with the young man shot, gasping for breath, and left for dead on the side of the highway.
A well-meaning white liberal passed on the way back from a rally, but didn’t even see him as she quickly drove down the dangerous Jericho road to the suburbs. A pastor passed on his way to his evening service. He glanced out of his rearview mirror, but didn’t stop.“Too political,” he muttered.
There was one car that stopped, though. The one car you never would have expected to stop–
“Who is my neighbor?” the girl asks, dreads, stark makeup, #BLM shirt. The white boy from Mississippi standing next to her in the crowd is wondering the same thing. It’s a curious crowd that ends up following this Jesus guy.
“Who is your enemy?” Jesus asks back.
“Go find an example of your enemy loving others, then do what she is doing. That’s where you’ll find your neighbour.”
Jesus was coming through St. Paul. The streets were packed. He walked down Hennepin avenue, people pressing in on both sides.
There was this one guy who wanted to see Jesus, but when people saw his uniform, they pressed their bodies together and formed a blockade. “As if Jesus would want to see you,” they said to him.
His heart thumping in his ears, his desperate need to have what Jesus gives pressing him forward. Heedless of what people think of him, he spots a light pole ahead and scrambles up, dangling awkwardly from the top. People start laughing and pointing. The parade with Jesus at the helm walks right under the street light. Jesus looks up.
“Yanez!” Jesus calls out to the man in blue, desperately clinging to the lightpole, a broad smile across his face. “What are you doing up there? Get down, friend, I’m coming to your house for supper!”
“What?” the people say to each other, incredulous. “Does Jesus know who this guy is?”
Jesus smiles. He knows.
The man in blue scrambles down and rushes home to fire up the grill.
He’s so excited, so relieved, so humbled Jesus is there.
He finds himself chattering incessantly, trying to think of ways to show his gratitude, his change of heart.
“I’ll turn in my badge, Jesus,” he says, “Or maybe I’ll keep it but spend a year learning about community policing. I’ll set up a fund for victims of police brutality. I’ll join the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’ll—“
“Don’t tell me,” Jesus says with a gentle smile, “Go talk it over with them,” he nods towards the group of grieving people outside. The man in blue nods, takes a deep breath, and steps outside.
Jesus turns to his disciples, “Today, salvation came to this house.”
If you want real stories about Jesus, not the made-up ones, you can read about how he raised a widow’s son here, you can hear his response to a religious dude who kept the Jewish law and asked for a definition of neighbor here, and you can read about the time one of the corrupt government tax officials had his life changed by his encounter with Jesus here.
The images used in this post are all taken from various news sources documenting the funeral & protests around the death of Philando Castile.
If you’d like to do something to make our cities safer for everyone, police officers and innocent civilians alike, check out Campaign Zero, and if you live in the Twin Cities, check out the movement to insure the police. Read about it here, or here and add your voice to get it on the ballot.
“It’s a simple concept, really–cops who engage in misconduct will have to pay for the additional premiums out of pocket. Some will eventually become uninsurable. An effective risk management strategy will be put into place and we will finally be able to do something about the cops who engage in misconduct over and over.” — from the blog “Improving police- a veteran police chief discusses effective ways to lead, improve and restore trust”