Jesus Can’t Breathe – a poem by Jane Darling

Is it true that we no longer judge?
That prejudice and racism are dead?
That we accept those who are different to us?
Are we fuelled with fury that makes us lash out
At the smallest crime against us?

So Jesus dies again?

When USA police shoot 409 people in a year
Something is wrong
When the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold has been cleared of murder
And Eric’s family mourn as they recall his last words; “I can’t breathe”
Garner was a horticulturalist, a neighbourhood peacemaker
Generous and kind family man
Obviously a ‘hardened criminal’, threatening millions…

And Jesus cries: “I can’t breathe”.

Michael Brown, black, unarmed
Shot for stealing cigarettes.
A life for a smoke?

And Jesus sobs into his pillow at night.

Tamir Rice, 12 year old
Playing with a toy gun in the park
Shot dead by police

And Jesus weeps and mourns and prays: “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do”

When LGBT folk find release in committing suicide ‘cos they are misunderstood in this world,
When a husband’s ‘happy new year’ is a fist to his wife’s face,
When there’s a hit and run and someone dies or is maimed,
They are killing His very life, His very breath from this world
Can you ‘love thy neighbour’
But pull a gun on them and kill them?
Can you ‘love thy neighbour’
But slight them with your words
Can you ‘love thy neighbour’ as Jesus said
But judge them, condemn them, hate them?

Jesus came for all

And He is saying “I can’t breathe.”
I can’t breathe with the absolute hate that’s around
The murderous thoughts and words
The actions to clear the world of those who don’t fit our agenda
The black, the white, coloured, gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer,
The prostitute, the punter, the thief, the kid
Oh and the horticulturalist.

Church of Jesus, rise up!
Link hands together around this world and break the cycle of judgement and hate
Where there is despair bring hope
Where there is hate bring love
Where there is pain bring a hug and love and hope
We have to change this culture so we can have breath and breathe life into a dying, hurting world.

If you’ve got to the end of this article and you’re thinking “yes, but…” or “no, because…” write your “yes but” or “no because” in the comments below.

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