Why is Baltimore burning? What can I do?

1 05 2015

Why is Baltimore burning? What can I do? Love Gives.

I love Baltimore. I love its people, neighborhoods, and streets. This tragic week I’ve spent a good deal of time crying and laughing with its beautiful citizens. We have cleaned up, prayed up, and hugged it out. Planning meetings continue because there is much to do for the long term good of Baltimore City. There’s a beautiful spirit of unity in the city right now. We will be here when the National Guard and the media leave, still serving. Because love gives.

“It should not be.” The violence of this week and the many underlying causes of such rage cannot be simply described here. Most Baltimore natives are shocked and yet not surprised. This week was not just about police brutality or negligence. It’s not that simple.

Why would a firefighter friend of mine have a gun in his face to prevent him from putting out a fire?

The truth is that we do not have educational and therefore vocational equality in our country. Generations of Baltimore citizens have come to believe that other people do not care about their struggle.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Remember that question? What should I do? How should I live? Jesus said that the most important truth of Scripture was, “Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor in the way you take care of yourself.” I believe that if we all lived this message Baltimore would not have burned.

“Jesus is the answer for the world today.” As a kid I sang that song and it’s been fresh in my memory this week. There’s a reason Jesus chose to read Isaiah 61 when he revealed himself as our Creator. The Good News of Jesus includes setting the wrongs right.

Throughout human history peace talks have included sitting down to eat, to talk, to listen. Just before Peter wrote, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you,” he wrote, “all of you serve each other in humility.”

This week I’ve been reminded of the days, before moving here, of seeing blocks of vacant homes in urban poverty. Knowing that God wanted me here and yet staring at the challenges of such decay. A question began to burn in me, “What can God do?”

Each of us can “love God with all we’ve got and love our neighbor the same way we take care of ourselves.” Please overcome the obstacles and ask your neighbor questions, listen, and show your love.  Please connect with Jesus, grow in faith, and share his love. Because love gives.