Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jesus Lives!

Last Friday at a public transportation stop a couple miles from my house, two teenage women with hijabs were standing. A rough man came up to them, yelling at them, telling that Muslims don't belong in this country.  The train rolled up, and the quickly got on, but he followed him, continuing his insulting tirade.  Three men heard this confrontation and stepped in, protecting the two girls from their verbal assailant.

Suddenly the brash man pulled out a knife and quickly stabbed the three protectors.  One died there in the train, another died in the hospital and the other is recovering.  The man was captured by the police because another person followed him from a distance, calling 911. 
I've read a number of statements from some of my friends stating that they are disappointed with Portland, in wake of yesterday's attack on two Muslim women and the injury and death of three men trying to defend them. They are disappointed that anyone would feel comfortable enough to yell at or attack people of another ethnicity or religion.
It is true that we are in an hour in this the whole nation where the open, violent racists feel comfortable to verbally abuse and attack people on the open street. It is true that our city government treats the racist protesters better than the anti-Trump protesters.
But you know what? On that random MAX train stop last night, there was ONE violent racist, and THREE anti-racists putting their bodies on the line to stop the evil. And TWO people were able to arrive home safely. For Portland, that some decent math to occur on a random public transportation stop. This means that there's a fight, but it is a fight that we can win.
To those who insist that the Muslim women/community should be grateful to these men, that may be true. So should we all. Because they weren't just sacrificing themselves for those women, for Muslims in general (although that is true), but for all of us to live in freedom and peace in our community. They died for all of us.  Sound like someone you know?
I pray that we are all ready and practiced to stand up to abuse and violence against any oppressed people. Against Muslims, against African Americans, against Native Americans, against the homeless, against LGBTQ, We need to stand up against anyone who is directing threats against others, even if they are police, in a peaceful but firm rejection of prejudiced.
And may we stand against the just as ugly prejudice against these people created by our structure: the national and local governments, businesses, non-profits, lobbying agencies that separate a group and say, "These are the people we don't want in our society."
Let's use these three heroes as our model. Let's all stand to defend the outcast.
And if we stand, with out lives, then we can say that Jesus is here. Jesus who laid his life down for the rejected, overcoming the system that oppressed them through his sacrifice.  If we stand up for the outcast and the "sinner" ready to lay down our lives for their sake, then we become Jesus in that moment.

Jesus only lives if we live out Jesus.

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