On bended knees I must confess, when I see white people in authority “peacefully” gather in front of cameras to bend on one knee for 8:46 minutes, I am confused.
Why are we doing this? Are we confessing our sins of institutionalized racism and, in their long-standing standing presence, first begging forgiveness from our brothers and sisters of color?
Are we clearing space for our protesting brothers and sisters to organize our gathering with the authority they rightly claim?
Are we first seeking out and listening to our neighbors as they clearly speak their truth out of their collective voices, based on centuries of laboring to build up this nation with no just reward for their efforts?
Do we even realize that we are also replicating how George Floyd was killed? … by a white man in authority bending on one knee and crushing his neck for 8:46 minutes. Is that what we’re commemorating, our own power to also kneel on one knee and suddenly declare that it is good?
Or are we sub-consciously co-opting what in fact has been a black man’s prophetic protest for all the world to see …a brave action he led others to witness in football stadiums. He quietly led a peaceful protest movement which has been reviled and rejected by too many white people in power.
Colin Kaepernick has paid the high price for daring to kneel on one knee. Has it been hard for you to publicly kneel on one knee? No? That is the power of white-privilege. It is not a power we have earned, we and our kin have merely perpetuated it for centuries.
Yes, Brother Colin Kaepernick, we see you peacefully kneeling in protest on one knee.
Yes, Brother George Floyd, we hear your last words as you gasped for breath under the crushingly uniformed knee of white racist hatred.
We who were merely born into our power now fall on both knees and beg forgiveness. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for all we have done and for all we have left undone as we continue to betray and diminish the voices of our brothers and sisters of color.
Isn’t this what we who are white should be confessing? Can we still not see that we’re blind to our own sins and desires to keep our power firmly planted on the necks of those who are protesting? Why must we always grab the microphone and push the prayers of a coerced “peace”? What are we afraid of? Must it always, always, be about us? There is no peace in that.
If we are gathering in the public square and all we see is a sea of white faces, we must humbly confess that we are part of the problem. Yes, we all mean well and we are doing the best we can, but we are allies in this movement, we are not oppressed.
During this time of a pandemic, legions of those in vulnerable communities of color are dying for lack of affordable healthcare. The virus of racism and the Covid-19 virus are colliding in the streets and on deathbeds. We each are showing up in person or online to grieve and protest as best we can. … by examining our own sins, by voting and advocating for a change in public policies, by lifting up and listening to the voices of the protesters, by forging right relationships over the long haul.
Might we further resolve to each do our own hard work to root out our own white-centric need to control these conversations?
Yes, Brother Kaepernick, we repent. We see you and we hear your powerful witness. Keep showing us toward the Way of Love so that no one in power presses a knee against anyone’s neck ever ever again … so that George Floyd and a never-ending succession of martyrs will never be forgotten.
Listen to Colin Kaepernick speak his truth: https://time.com/5248606/colin-kaepernick-wins-amnesty-internationals-ambassador-of-conscience-award/
“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from. I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did.” – Colin Kaepernick, Professed and Confessing Christian, Black Freedom Fighter, Human Rights Activist, and former Professional Athlete (NFL)
Let us pray for our brother, Colin : The Lord has surely ordered your steps on the path of sacrificial love for the sake of the Gospel. Sacrifice on this level: giving up your Vocation, your Livelihood, your Reputation, your chance to be the particular someone you have trained all your life to be–and doing it all for the wellbeing of your siblings and neighbors is extraordinarily painful and costly. Thank you for showing us, for showing me, the power of the love spoken of in John 15:13. As your tattoo says, “To God be the Glory.” Amen.
Let us pray for our brother George, who is being laid to rest today: O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant George Floyd, being raised with him, may know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Here’s A Confession of Hope, with music by Guy and Sophia Scott: https://stcolumbasmaine.buzzsprout.com/972031/4068740-a-confession-of-hope