DELIVERANCE DENIED
by Jay Hornbacher

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble
and he delivered them from their distress.

                                                                    -Psalm 107

A man wakes up, not breathing, terrified,
until his barely conscious mind reminds him
that it was just a dream, just the terrors of the night.
Then he takes deep, panting breaths,
so grateful that he can, but mindful of the virus
that could take his breath away and leave him
choking, gasping, dying agonized and lonely,
like a hundred thousand others who have died.

He knows his breath will stop someday,
that his spirit will take wing,
God’s spirit that was breathed into his holy self
the day that he was born,
for so it is when breath departs ….

… except when it is taken wrongly,
savagely, with cruel intent,
by a knee upon a helpless neck,
robbing one more child of God,
a black man, yet again,
deprived of life, of liberty, of happiness,
and breath.

The man who knelt was white,
a keeper of the law, so called.

But his kneeling was unholy.

And I, who dreamed of losing breath?
I know I will not die this way because
I am old
and white
and full of unearned privilege.

I cannot stop the dying
but I can and will speak out.

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”
Having said this, he breathed his last.

                                                                    -Luke 23:46

This Jesus has been called so many names:

Emmett Till
Freddie Gray
Sandra Bland
Michael Brown
Jamar Clark
Philando Castile
Terrance Franklin
Tamir Rice
Ahmaud Arbery
Breonna Taylor
David McAtee

plus thousands more,
each one black,
each one a precious child of God.

This time his name was
George Floyd.

How long, O Lord?
How long until deliverance?

And finally,
that is also up to me.

Top photo courtesy of Barb Nicol
3 photos of joint effort with Liberty Church to board up their buildings on Saturday courtesy of Sarah Schewe.