On Monday night as I read and watched the unfolding news coverage of riots, my Facebook newsfeed bombarding me with posts both from activists and from folks who hated the rioting but didn't care about Freddie Gray, I thought about saying a prayer for peace.
I started to pray, but God interrupted me, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
"They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace.
They acted shamefully. They committed abomination.
Yet they were not ashamed."
Was I the “they?”
Who are God's people here?
Could my mission really be confined to seeking the best for the children to whom I gave birth? Or, as a Christian, should I define "family" more broadly? I'd see images of women and children suffering around the world, and those puzzling verses returned to my mind. Maybe, instead of obsessing over the happiness of my babies, I should stick my head out of the window, so to speak, look around, and ask, "Who is my family?"
It didn't feel right to simply shrug my shoulders and blithely accept my good fortune as compared to that of people born into extreme poverty. I'd buy my kids their new school clothes and shoes and then think of mothers who did not have the resources to provide their children with even one meal a day. I'd wonder: what's the connection between us? Does the fact that $10 malaria nets in African countries save whole families have anything to do with my family buying a new flat-screen TV? Should it? Is there any connection between me, a suburban, middle class mom, and women around the world?
Organic strawberries were $5.99 the other day at our local grocer. $5.99! Their more toxic twins, the non-organic variety, were on sale for $3. Darn this pesticide-free living. I stood staring at that clamshell of bruised strawberries and fought with myself. The farmers market was still three days away. I really wanted those berries.
Just a half-mile or so south of our home is the Illinois Prairie Path. It's an old rail line that was converted to a walking and biking path in the early 1960s. An electric line actually, that once hauled commuters back and forth from the western suburbs to the city.