Jesus said to another, “Follow me”. He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral”. Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” (Luke 9: 59 – 60)
Remembering Rodney King, the terrible riots in Los Angeles, and his now-famous plea “Can’t we all just get along?” As after most riots, commissions and panels were set up to find out the reasons for what happened. Pundits wrote lengthy articles to explain what people were feeling. The news showed the video footage of the most brutal scenes over and over again. Promises were made that there would be changes. Politicians used the events to advance their popularity as well as their programs.
What led to the riots consumed an incredible amount of energy. Poverty, injustice, dishonesty, violence, and prejudice all consume us. The riots themselves used up so much energy that entire communities and neighbourhoods were left exhausted. And then the subsequent attempts at follow-up took whatever energy that might have remained.
Rodney King’s words, “Can’t we all just get along?” are really key. Had they been put into practice early on, there would have been no reason to riot. If they were the result of afterwards, then at least some good would have come from the pain and sorrow.
Scripture tells us not to be so busy with our own lives and concerns as to not have time to truly get along. By using our energy to do God’s work, we become partners in the work of redemption. And strengthened by the Spirit of God, we will then truly be able to follow the Lord, leaving all that saps our energy behind.