I participated in two processions on this Palm Sunday. The first was at my church, Meridian Street United Methodist, where we waved our palm branches and proclaimed “Hosanna”, which means “God save us”. It was a wonderful morning of worship.
The second procession was to the home of Deshaun Swanson, a 10 year old boy who was shot in his front yard 6 months ago this weekend.
A few hundred people gathered at North United Methodist Church at the request of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition for the”We Will Never Forget” Rally.
We gathered to support the families who have lost loved ones to violence in our city and are still seeking justice. There are many families who are waiting for some closure, but feel lost in the city’s system of seeking justice. I have never been in a situation like this. I can’t fully understand the pain and sadness these families feel, but I can be present. I can pray for those families who grieve.
As we gathered in front of the home where the violence occurred last fall, Rev. Charles Harrison, who was facilitating this gathering, asked me to come and pray for the families. It was a humbling and Spirit led moment. I had not met all of the families who were present who have lost a loved one, but I have prayed for them.
The only thing I could think was that this is sacred ground. This is a place where innocent blood was shed. This is how I began. Then I continued by referencing the cross and death of Jesus and how we know that resurrection is coming. I could sense the power of the Holy Spirit in that sacred place with those beloved children of God.
I hope I’ll get the opportunity to share my prayers and support to those families who have lost a loved one in person, but if not, I hope they know that their not alone. There are many congregations, pastors, and faithful people of God who are praying for them, love them, and want to support them, even if it means walking in the neighborhood to show our support.
It’s a powerful experience to gather with pastors and faithful people of different denominations, African American and Caucasian, all people of God, united in the Gospel cause of justice, equality, and hope for all of God’s children. When part of the body suffers, we all suffer, as we read in 1 Corinthians. When one neighborhood grieves, we should all support and pray for them. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It was true for our nation then, it’s true for the City of
Dr. King continued in a part of the quote that is less known. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” When a child is killed on Graceland Ave, the whole community is affected. It’s not about one neighborhood or one race, we are called to be united in the cause of justice for all of God’s people.
Today was the most powerful Palm Sunday experience I have had. One procession included palm branches, the other included a call to justice. Perhaps the two are more connected than I originally thought. What was Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to accomplish? Jesus was coming to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Why should a Palm Sunday procession go to a home where a child was killed? To proclaim the same.