Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. – Ephesians 2:14-15 (CEB)
Word got around about a young man who disregarded the detailed rules of the law. The law was such that entire communities of people were living in less-than-human conditions. This young man decided to go about living in a way that ignored the technicalities prescribed and enforced by those in power. His very existence was a threat to the status quo.
When the state encountered him, they didn’t like how he disrespected the law in the ways they interpreted it, so they killed him in a public manner. They left his broken, breathless, bleeding body out where all could see it, lest others dare challenge the law too.
They didn’t anticipate people from various races, genders, sexualities, religions, and nationalities coming together in Ferguson and beyond on August 9, 2014, and every day afterward to cry out against the death of this young man, Mike Brown, Jr.
Two thousand years ago and beyond and every day afterward, the Broken Body brings so many of us together across space and time, breaking down human-made barriers and divisions. We’re invited—commanded, even—to participate in “canceling the detailed rules of the Law” when so many are harmed by them for the benefit of a few. We must collaborate with God so that each and every single created being can be one, drawing closer to Peace in the process.
Deliver us from our deadly and divisive laws, Broken God, so that through your pieces, we might experience your peace. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.