Guest Outpost blog by Dawn Martin Hyde
“The Baltimore Orioles will play the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium, the first major league game to be closed to fans.” New York Times. Wednesday, April 29, 2015
A completely empty baseball stadium. No one allowed in because we cannot be trusted with each other. We do not trust each other.
The riots, curfews, confusion and violence happening in Baltimore are not area-specific. There are trust issues everywhere… and I wonder how long this will go on.
The media draws us away from the peaceful protestors with important messages for societal change, instead focusing us in on the violence and stirring up more reason for us not to trust one another for fear of our own safety.
Baseball stadiums are public places. Spaces filled with hundreds of people – strangers – gathered for a shared cause. And no one let in to watch the Orioles or the White Sox… because we cannot be trusted.
Churches are also public spaces. Spaces filled with people – strangers – gathered for a shared cause. It, too, has to be safe. Safe enough to close your eyes. Safe enough to let your toddler run around. Safe enough to participate in the community around you.
And yet, how can we uphold safety when we do not trust each other?
There’s a story in the Bible about two brothers, Cain and Abel. There is anger and jealousy and Cain ends up killing his brother Abel. God says to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And Cain responds, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Am I my brother’s keeper?
God says, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
Yes, we are our brother’s keeper.
We are each other’s keepers. Our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies, our neighbors, our attackers, our lovers.
We are each other’s keepers.
I look at the world through the lens of the media and I see black and white. Right and wrong. Violent and nonviolent.
But God created humanity, interconnected, brothers and sisters.
I look at the world through my faith and I grieve. For my brothers and sisters who are unsafe. For my brothers and sisters who cannot be trusted. For my brothers and sisters who will end up dead because we choose to see the world through one lens.
The image of the empty baseball stadium is a powerful one for me. When we cannot trust each other, when we do not seek to “keep” each other, we all miss out. We miss out on the camaraderie of cheering alongside a stranger who loves our same team. We miss out on the spirit of unity that is strong at sporting events. We miss out on seeing each other as our brother, our sister, our common humanity.
For the sake of the gospel, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of baseball – I hope and pray we will be convicted to care for each other. To be each other’s keeper.
Dawn Martin Hyde is the pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco. She’s a transplant from the southeast and is soaking up how Jesus is at work in the west. Visit her blog.