June 9th 2020
I wonder what you have thought, as you have watched the angry protests on the television this week, and heard the slogan "Black Lives Matter".
Some people responded by saying "yes – but surely All Lives Matter".
Yes, they do – but that misses the point. In our culture, some lives don't seem to matter as much as others. "Black Lives Matter" is a cry that people of colour should be recognised as equal, celebrated as equal, and receive a fair share of all that our society offers. Its a cry that needs to be heard. There is pain and suffering behind this cry, and it must be heard.
People who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethic (BAME) are angry about the way they are treated – and they are right to be angry. Society needs to change, to give dignity and security to everyone; and that means recognising that what is happening now is wrong. It means that things have to change.
During Bible Month, we are looking at the story of Ruth – a foreign woman, who was vulnerable to abuse and harassment every time she left the house. Boaz offered her protection, and made it quite clear to his workers and neighbours that she was not to be molested. He made sure that she was safe at work, and could gather her food, free from the threat of violence.
Its amazing that a story set 3,000 years ago still has so much to teach us. Those of us who are white British are safe and secure. We have the ability, like Boaz, to extend that safety to our BAME brothers and sisters, to stand up for them and defend them, and demand that they are treated with respect. We cannot leave them to struggle alone, but we must listen to them, and work with them to create a safe society so they can live and work alongside us with dignity.
Every human being is made in the image of God, equally deserving of respect and honour. We are called to proclaim that truth, and live it, until it becomes a daily reality for every person. Jesus told a parable of a shepherd who left 99 sheep in the safety of the sheepfold, and focussed all his energy on finding the one that was vulnerable. That's what Black Lives Matter is doing – focussing on our BAME sisters and brothers who experience abuse and discrimination, and saying this must change.
May it be so – and soon.