“Am I next?”
These are the words a little boy holds amid the crowd of protesters. It is the question too many ask in this country. A reality that cannot be escaped. A reality that lives at the root of our nation. The reality that some people’s humanity is up for debate while other people’s is not. Am I next?
These are not words just to get a reaction. Not only meant for the shock factor. They speak truth – an awareness and fear that too many of God’s children live with each day. In response to the press conference in which the mother of George Floyd’s young daughter spoke, a friend of mine wrote, “the look in that baby’s eyes, I’m without words…knowing that could be my baby.” A girl who will never see her father again. A girl who will always know both the senselessness and evil of her father’s death. A girl who will never escape the truth of what it means to be black in this country. Am I next?
As we begin the season of Pentecost, the unrest across our country intensifies. Another one of God’s children was murdered. He was murdered because of the color of his skin. Meanwhile, Pentecost is a season in which we celebrate God’s presence among us in life-giving breath. It calls us to embrace the flames that give voice to truth and wind that make restless our comfort. It is a season that challenges the injustices of the status quo and all who assemble and abuse power, lie, and misuse symbols of faith to maintain it.  This was the message Jesus’s followers received and shared that day they poured out into the streets of Jerusalem (Acts 2). They did not preach law and order. Law and order was the oppression under which they suffered. Powers that seek to uphold unjust law and order, to silence and disassemble voices that speak of a new way, stand in opposition to the reign of God. 
At Pentecost, the holy spirit comes to give voice to the voiceless, life-breath to those whose right to breathe is suppressed and cut off. It comes to shed light on truth and bring God’s justice to all God’s people. Thus, we must pay attention to the question, “Am I next?” because if you are not the one asking it, it is being addressed to you. If you are a Jesus follower, it is being addressed to you. How will you answer?