The week began with reports that those whose skin kiss the sun most often already knew: black folk were contracting and dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates. Yet instead of naming the man-made terrains of whiteness – food deserts, poverty, red-lining, environmental and economic racism, to name a few – they label race, not racism, as the defining marker. They bring those who look like us but who aren’t part of us to say that we need to ‘step up’ and stop drinking and assembling. Pre COVID-19 me was scared that the system would kill me if I ever tried to give birth. COVID-19 me is scared that they won’t even wait for another generation; they’ll just let us die now.
A friend on Facebook said of course racism is operating as usual. It is an essential worker in this country.
Fridays used to be special. They used to signify the end of the work week and the start of the ease of the weekend freedom to go places and see friends and loved ones. But Fridays now feel like any other day. More indoor air than outdoor and just screentime instead of hugs. But Easter has always been my favorite holiday. I’m trying to find joy in preparing to spend Easter alone. To choose a nice dress, cook a nice brunch, and sit down to an empty table that does not hold the same joys as the empty tomb.
You have 14 days to claim the dead in New York before they are buried in mass graves. Death is everywhere. And for black people who live on the precipice of death, it feels like one foot is slipping, and perhaps the next.
The dead are waiting. They’re waiting to be ushered in to the next world, but they’re dying alone and must hold one another’s hands to the next life. We wish we could send you off.
This Friday I am remember that this particular Friday is only Good because of the guarantee of Resurrection. Without the Resurrection today represents merely death, and the loss and lament that goes with it. We are all suffering forms of loss right now. Loss of intimacy, loss of space, loss of jobs. And with possibly many months of shelter-in-place before us, we wonder what can be resurrected from the ashes of this virus and the systems that have always killed but are now crumbling down upon many.
The cross may represent death, but it also represents the promise of life. Today during a Good Friday devotional, Rev. Dr. Donna Battle spoke about the crowds that formed. And she reminded us that we are not part of the crowd, which provides us the room to move forward. I sat with those words and wondered who is God asking me to be in this moment. God always asks of us specific tasks for the time; why we must read the Bible in relation to what it is telling us about our present, not the past. Rev. Dr. Battle went on to say that in our lament of death, we must make room for the ways that the Resurrection will show up in and around us.
I expect Resurrection. I expect it because it’s already happened. It’s already been named and promised. I will listen for where to find it.