There is an old story about a man who found his neighbor searching desperately around a lamp post on the sidewalk just outside of his house, for his keys. It was obvious that he was a little inebriated but the man tried to help for several minutes and finally asked him, “when was the last time you actually had your keys?” The drunken man answered “in front of the door as I was trying to open up”. His friend asked him “why are you looking down here on the side walk?” With a hiccup the man replied,”the lights better down here”.
I don’t have the psychic energy to get too enraged about much of anything anymore in this society. One outrage always begets another. Riots have their own rather mundane, sad, and silly ebb and flow. The movement of crowds is like any herd – follow the bell cow or the oldest mare. Ask a member of “the borg” separated from the “Collective” why they are rioting? and they’ll say that they are searching for justice for Mr. Floyd. The light is better near a burning police car.
Acts 19 maybe one of the funniest books in the Bible. Read it and judge for yourself. There is a marvelous description of a riot that started because Paul the apostle was preaching that there is a God who created all of us, sent his Son to save all of us, and who will someday come to judge all of us. Some folks started a riot based on a profit motive, and Luke’s description is classic “The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” I suspect that most people at these protests and riots know exactly why they are there. I just don’t know what they’re looking for, but the light is better by a burning Walmart.
I have been accused of being simplistic when I say that the answer to every problem is Christ. Christ is the way the truth and the life and he is the way to the Father who created us. I’ve been accused of beating the drum that once a society denies God as Creator, or refuses to recognize any kind of natural law coming from the Creator, there can be no justice, no peace, and certainly no full and rich life that comes from the fulsome confession of our creatureliness. Christ came into our riotous, chaotic, poisoned world,where as one of our poets has said, “we seized and used in prideful spite the wondrous gift of liberty”. * Christ paid the penalty to bring us back to God, and instead of looking for justice, he looked to justify us.
Back to the tortured metaphor – until we get that we are children of the Heavenly Father who rules all things in heaven and earth by his son Jesus, we will never find the key because there is no place where there is light and we will always be in the dark.
*”Oh God of the Lord of Heaven and Earth”. Martin Franzmann, Augsburg Fortress 1967.,