On Taking a Knee for the Lord –
Psalm 106: 3 Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times. 
Around ten years ago, I challenged a police officer in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Our two sons were in town and we had traveled in two cars to visit church members at their home, they in one car and Denise and I in the other car. Our visit was pleasant, and after saying our goodbyes, we got into our separate cars to head home. Our sons turned left on Walnut Lake Road. We waited for what seemed like only one car to pass, and then I followed our sons by turning left as well on Walnut Lake Road. They were only not more than thirty seconds ahead of us. To my surprise, when I made the left turn, I saw a police patrol car with a big spot light trained on our sons car. Both sons had their hands in the air, the older sons hands were on the steering wheel, the younger one had his hands on the dash board. My first thought was, “Who taught them to put their hands on the steering wheel and dashboard?” My second thought was, “What could they have done in thirty-seconds to warrant being pulled over by the police?” I pulled in front of them, put my stingy brim black leather hat on, with a short black leather jacket, opened the door to my car and started walking toward the police officer. The officer yelled on the loudspeaker, saying, “I don’t know who you are, get back in the car!” That’s when I knew I had the officer. The car my sons were driving was registered in my name. I am not a big shot, but there are a lot of people in the Detroit area who are familiar with my church and frankly, me. My ministry has been public, and when the officer said, “I don’t know who you are,” I thought to myself, he’s nervous and lying because he knows exactly who I am.” I just stood there looking at him and thinking, “We could all get shot, but if I should die, I want my sons to know I died standing up for them and not like a chump on my knees, whimpering like a baby.” As it turned out, the police officer was embarrassed because he almost ran his car into the car our sons were driving. The officer’s lights were off and he was driving recklessly. In his nervous embarrassment, he allowed our sons to drive off without a ticket.
After sharing this story with several members who live in Oakland County, Michigan, I learned that a lot of black men, and sometimes black women have been harassed by the police in the communities in which they live. They do not like to talk about it, but it is real.
I am sharing this little story, because as I consider the professional football and basketball player who have chosen to “take a knee” during the singing of the national anthem, as a way of protesting police brutality against African Americans, I am proud of what they are doing. They are young, college educated, highly skilled at what they do, and rich. Yet, for all their status and wealth, they are just as susceptible for getting pulled over and harassed, and maybe even killed as the brother on the street. So, they are making a statement, and I love it!
The athletes are making a statement, not so much about the flag and the singing of the national anthem, but racism in America. In their own way, they have forced a national discussion on race and bigotry, and I love it!
The Bible talks about justice, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. As people who believe in Jesus Christ, we should never become so comfortable that we turn a blind eye to fairness and equality. We are taught in the Bible, that the one we should bow down to is God, and God alone. If we are willing to humble ourselves before God, our human relations become easier to figure out, and the desire for justice will become a guiding light.
Questions for Reflection:
- How does the Bible inform your sense of justice?
- What are your thoughts about the protests on the sports field and the struggle for justice in America and throughout the world?
Prayer: Lord, grant me the courage to stand up for truth, to be an advocate for the poor and oppressed, and guided by mercy, grace and love. In Jesus name. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers, Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/