We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
~1 John 3:16
The scene in Acts turns intimidation up to 11: the rulers, the elders, the scribes, even Annas the high priest and others in the family. They were all there as they “made the prisoners stand in their midst” (Acts 4:7). We who are white may be blissfully unaware, but terror has been a tool for social control and the maintenance of oppressive and unjust structures forever.
Can you imagine the courage and fortitude it took for Darnella Frazier to choose and then to continue to film as the officer, knee on Floyd’s neck steeled his gaze at her, reached at one point for his mace, all while protected by a flank of other officers who directed their gaze not to the prone, dying black man, but toward the crowd crying out for compassion and reason? Nine minutes. Twenty-nine seconds.
Policing has a long history in the United States in service to a system of white supremacy that maintains its control through violence, intimidation, brutality, terror and the asymmetrical force of militarization. Yet, all it took was the courage of a 17-year-old black girl with social anxiety to bear witness for a different outcome—at least this once.
And Peter, amidst this display of terror and intimidation, likewise finds the courage to bear witness to the power of goodness for salvation. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
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