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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Take a Knee



Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

Hasn’t this prayer become our heart’s cry in all this world’s mess? Oh, Dear Jesus, we need your kingdom, and we need it now.

I remember, a few years back, going through a hard stretch, feeling desperate. I’d be in my car, running errands, gazing out my window, seeing the clouds. And I’d think about heaven and Jesus, my soul yearning for his return. Looking back now, admitting, it was escape I was seeking, not so much His kingdom. An easy mistake, fixing our hope on someday, somewhere else, but not here, not now. And yet. This is what Jesus taught us to pray. Your kingdom on EARTH, as in heaven.

Heaven come HERE.

Five months into 2020, and who would have ever guessed any of this? Like the floodgates of every sort of worst-case-scenario, opened up, unexpected, leaving us reeling. In shock. Whatever this is, it’s sure not heaven. It’s not even Minnesota Nice. And the one response we can probably agree on, is the one where all of us give a collective sigh, and admit together, we do not know.

We don’t know how this happened. We don’t have the answers. We don’t know what it’s like to walk in anybody’s shoes but the ones we’re wearing. We don’t know.

Pastor Sean preached this past weekend on the famous words of the prophet, Micah. What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. I could weep, just thinking of how I ache for this. And, without putting words into the good prophet’s mouth, I’m inclined to think it’s HUMILITY paving the way for the love and justice.

WE DO NOT KNOW.

We are an interracial family. My own sons come from different cultural backgrounds. Their skin colors are beautifully varied. Even at that—I do not know. I don’t know what life is really like for my Colombian son, living here in Minnesota. I don’t know what his future holds. My mom heart has been aching every day for the past week, wondering, worrying, wishing...

A couple of years ago I was at a retreat with other adoptive moms. I remember a conversation about discrimination. One wise woman told us we’d better be ready to have our Mama Bear hearts broken over the inevitable unfairness our kids will surely face. And I wonder.

These current events hit too close to home.

Yesterday I talked to one married son who was picking up his wife from work, the two of them heading to a peaceful protest. Later I talked to our family in Des Moines, on Facetime, my newest grandbaby babbling in his mama’s lap. Nash was born at the start of the COVID outbreak, and I think about all that’s happened in the not quite three months he’s been alive. I wonder what his world will be like.

I hope it will be better. I’m enough of a dreamer to imagine BETTER is possible. Maybe. Maybe the breaking happening now will lead to healing. Maybe these protests and this virus will ultimately prove we really are in this together. Maybe followers of Jesus will rally in prayer, bringing His Kingdom to earth as in heaven.

My son told us a story yesterday that took my breath. He talked about places in Iowa where police are joining protestors, and taking a knee. Turns out this is happening all over the country.

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly…

Jesus, when asked, boiled the whole thing down to one command. Love God; love people. Not either/or—but both/and. Because here’s the thing. Christians can’t say they love God if they’re not willing to bend a knee with the people around them. And well-meaning advocates of justice can only get so far without the empowering love of Jesus within them. We need all of it. Knees bent in prayer. Knees bent in humble justice and healing love.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet…

Your kingdom come.

Scripture: Matthew 6:10; Micah 6:8; Mark 12:29-31; 1 John 4:8; John 13:14

Links to recommended resources:

Richard Rohr on Solidarity, Meditations from Sunday, May 24 to Friday, May 29 (The timing of this topic is nothing short of miraculous.)

Westwood Community Church, A Conversation on Race and Justice, Sunday, May 31

Constance Free Church, Sunday, May 31

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