Come and Have Breakfast
Micky Scottbey Jones
Day 1: We will go with you in the aftermath.
Focus: Self care, squad care, intergenerational care
As the scene is set in Chapter 21 [John 21:1-25], the disciples have gathered together as they often did before the state-sanctioned killing of Jesus. It’s been a doozy of a time. The pain is fresh. They are living in what could be considered the aftermath. Some friends are missing. The people who helped before aren’t helping now. The person they had been following is dead to most and has appeared a couple of times, but they still aren’t sure when, where, how, or if more death and devastation is on the horizon. What are the next steps? It’s chaos.
In reading this passage, I am reminded of the live recording of the song Why? (The King of Love is Dead) by Nina Simone. She is singing live the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. The pain is fresh. They are all swimming in the aftermath of the central figure of their movement suffering a violent death. In the chorus she laments:
“Folks you’d better stop and think
Cause everybody knows we’re on the brink
What will happen now that the king of love is dead?”
She takes a break in the song and with anguish in her voice says, “They’re killing us all…one by one..we’ve lost so many…we can’t take any more.” (Need to check the exact quote)
Violence, trauma, and harm continue to be experienced by communities. Among the people who followed Jesus. Among the people of the Southern Freedom Movement. Among those of us today whose hearts are awakened to justice and feel the pain of death and trauma all around us.
In the aftermath of those violent or traumatic events, we still have our daily responsibilities and jobs. The disciples still had to feed themselves and were also probably hoping to make a little cash. Which meant they still had to get in the boat and go get some fish. Nina Simone still had to sit at her piano and sing songs and encourage the people. The disciples had each other to share the tasks and distribute the weight. Nina had her band who worked out the arrangement for a new song of lament.
Have you been living in the aftermath of violence or trauma? Do you find yourself concerned about the violence and/or trauma in your community and how you or others will deal with it? Who are others who you can call on to help you compose a song of lament or just deal with basic needs in the midst of a difficult time?
God of connection and friendship, of hope and lament, help us in the aftermath of violence and trauma. May we offer one another companionship in daily tasks that still must be done, even in the most devastating of times. Open us up to sing songs of lament when we gather. Help us to include our pain and share each other’s struggles. Let us resist the temptation to isolate and instead help us to respond to the Spirit who draws us together.