Today we mourn.

Last night, shortly after leaving my house, a friend sent me this text: “Police have blocked off Turbot.” In the morning, the news informed me that two men had assaulted two other men and one of them had been non-fatally shot. Currently, it appears this was an isolated incident, but after last week’s other shootings, it was discouraging to say the least.  

Yet the real gut punch struck when I realized the exact spot the shooting had taken place: atop the street mural my community and my church repaint every year. Discarded road flares and white ash covered our vibrant globe, and the reality tore up my insides like acid. For a moment, the project seemed so futile, the colors only destined for decay.

In this eye of the storm of so much pain in Madison, what almost crippled me wasn’t tragedies of police brutality, black-on-black crime, or even systemic oppression in our culture. Those are all needed conversations to have, but today, I mourn because people are doing this to other people, human brothers and sisters are letting this happen to other human brothers and sisters. Today, what shatters my heart is that we fooled ourselves into thinking because we have a different skin color, income, or zip code, we somehow no longer belong to each other.

Tonight I was set to talk on Matthew 20 and 25, where Jesus called his followers to be a servant of all, just as he came ‘not to be served, but to serve, and give his life as sacrifice for many.’ We’re to pay that sacrifice forward, to every man, woman, and child. The message feels all too relevant given our context.

So today we mourn, but tomorrow we fight. Yet we don’t wage war with the weapons of this world: oppression, bitterness, vengeance, or division. We battle with sacrifice, prayer, love, and fellowship. ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.’ Together, we will repaint the world as many times as it takes, until each color and hue shine as brightly as the others.