I remember once many years ago meeting a man who had served honorably as a Ranger in the Special Forces/Army for many years. He was not particularly tall but clearly very strong and had distinguished himself as one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in his division. In fact he was so good at martial arts that he spent years training other soldiers and later worked part-time for an elite martial arts program after becoming a civilian. None of this he shared upon first meeting him. He preferred not to boast or advertise about his skills and talents. I remember a comment he made that once a conflict escalates to violence, everyone loses, even those who believe they are justified. Having been in hundreds of fights taught him always to avoid physical conflict when there is another, more peaceful option.
I thought of him this week upon hearing the verdict in the George Floyd case and the reports from around the country of ongoing police violence against people of color, often after being stopped for minor traffic violations such as an expired inspection sticker, or in the case of George Floyd, after concerns that a counterfeit $20 bill was used. In the heat of these confrontations, lives are being lost or harmed, and certainly careers are being ruined. I hope in the days and months ahead that communities around the country can find ways to foster understanding and trust. There are certain communities around the country where local police forces and court systems probably need to be reformed. Life is too short and far too precious for any of us to be mistreated. We are better than that as a country.
This Sunday we are celebrating Earth Day at First Parish in song, verse and spoken word, including what I suspect will be a very entertaining Time for All Ages. After Saturdays sunshine join us for Sunday’s service as the air cools and the rain falls.
See you in church. Jeff