Genesis 4:10: The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
There is a river that must stop, for it provides no benefit to the land it passes through. It helps to destroy anything it flows by and over, because by nature, it shouldn’t be a river at all. Today, as you read this, we must acknowledge a fiercely growing and cascading river of blood. Emmett Till, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Ezell Ford, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Phillip Pannell, Amadou Diallo, Chavis Carter, Wendell Allen, and Mike Brown, among others, make up a great part of its flow. This is a huge river, with streams uniting with it from every part of our country, streams constant and consistent over four centuries. What is the purpose of a river of blood? Does it help crops to grow? No. When we see this river, it means that this blood became divorced and separated from its purpose, which is to sustain human life.
When blood becomes a river, it kills instead of giving life. When blood becomes a river, it also means that a life has stopped in order to produce this unnatural event. The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided that it was fine to kill Mike Brown, even when he had hands raised in surrender. The pain of this for many for us increases when we see accounts of others after post ballgame riots, and shooting up movie theatres live to go on trial.
As we look at the text the anchors this conversation, it is clear that God’s expectation was not to see the shedding of blood. God tells the murderer, in the midst of his attempted cover-up of the crime, that the blood speaks from the ground. The fact that this continues to happen all over this country, every year, speaks to something greater than just the complaining of a particular people. America, the melanin rich blood calls for justice from the ground. It says that business as usual, and the complacency attached to it, should be in the rear view mirror of past tense.
How do we stop it? Begin to look at all of the places around us that yield blood. Unjust laws. Racial profiling. Redlining. Economic limitations. Educational deficiencies. True power from active voting at the polls. Address these areas and stand for what is right for you and your community. We can property use the doors open for us by the shedding of righteous blood, so that our ‘cloud of witnesses’ could watch us walk into the new opportunities of a new day. Their righteous blood is the platform from which we can stop the stench and flow of the toxic, life-killing river.