“What will you do to notice New Life, what will you do to choose to do to witness to God’s Dream for new life?” A few days ago I posted on Facebook a short piece about the gift of time. I had another gift of time on Wednesday afternoon to go down to Larpenteur Avenue, not far from the Luther Seminary Campus, and to put my own feet on the ground where in July 2016, a teacher’s aide was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop for a side-light violation. Philando Castile. I don’t even begin to understand the deep racial divide that afflicts the United States, but thanks to one of my doctoral colleagues, Laurie Pound Feille, whose thesis was about race, privilege and the long work of confession and reconciliation, I have become more aware of the pervasive, blinding effect of “white privilege” that I have without knowing it. I am white= I have the privilege of thinking this story has nothing to do with me, that the grief of his girlfriend has nothing to do with me, that as a white Canadian, shootings in the US have nothing to do with me.
Except that it’s time I realized that it has everything to do with me. So I took some time, and I took my body and I stood there, uncomfortable, gripped with a feeling somewhere between guilt, shame, sadness, and anger that this narrative is still being played out, both sides of the border, every day of the week. I left with no peace in my soul at all. And that is good. It was a momentary dismantling of my privilege, which needs to be followed by many more if I am to be part of the healing, rather than the hurting. The New Life this simple column of wood speaks to, is not easy at all., but it is a New Life to which God is calling me/ us.