I have been thinking a lot about the timeline of the events that unfolded in my own life this past week.
Last week I got to be a part of UPPERROOM’s “Convos with Michael Miller” podcast alongside Autumn Williams and Eniola Abioye. We recorded that podcast on a Monday (June 1). It was posted on a Friday (June 5). On the podcast, I shared a little bit about how just a few days before, I couldn’t see myself out at a protest or a rally because I was gripped by so many different fears; the fear of being seen as an “angry black man,” the fear of being targeted, hurt, or even killed by a police officer who identified me as a threat, the fear of feeling like I didn’t belong with the protesters. But somehow, the next day (June 2) I found myself in my car, feeling led by something to go down to the Colorado State Capitol here in Denver. I was unaware of what exactly would be happening there because I had chosen to unplug from the news cycle for a little bit (it can be overwhelming).
I got to the Capitol and saw crowds of hundreds, maybe even thousands of people. I again found myself being led by something inside of me to just push my way through the crowds and head to the front. While I have been comfortable in front of crowds in the past, this felt different. This was out of my comfort zone in a big way. The whole day honestly felt kind of like an out-of-body experience, but maybe it took getting out of myself to step into something different.
My eyes were set on the stairs of the Capitol where people shared from a megaphone about why black lives matter, about peaceful protesting, about the world needing to wake up and change; but most importantly, people were sharing personal stories. Something in me didn’t even give me time to doubt that I should climb the stairs and stand with them. So, I marched my way up the steps to stand next to my black brothers and sisters, who I have never even met before, as if I belonged there because that something in me knew I belonged. I stood looking out at a sea of faces of all sorts of colors. I saw raised fists, cardboard signs, unity, solidarity.
Someone just a few feet away from me opened up the megaphone for anyone who wanted to share something. A fire started to burn within me. I knew I had to say something but I didn’t know where to start. I was filled partially with fear, partially with excitement, and yet still full of dependence on whatever led me there to give me the words to speak. The only thing that came to mind was to talk about hope. I was handed the megaphone and I honestly don’t remember a lot of what I said. It wasn’t polished or eloquent, but it was raw and authentic. It was what I was carrying. People applauded and cheered in support of whatever did come out of my mouth. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me, but hope has a funny way of resonating with every heart.
I do remember at one point saying something along the lines of what I shared on the podcast the day before. Racism has been inherited in our country; from our families, from the media, from systems that have been in place for decades. But in 1963, in the face of racism, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought language to and shared a dream he had for a better day. That dream of hope has also been inherited today; through families, through media, through other systems that have a way of enduring in the face of adversity.
I am grateful for a family that taught me hope. I am grateful for a strong black father and black mother who taught me and my older sister a better way. I am grateful for an extended family full of black men and women who have stood for hope, peace, and equality. Contrary to what many have been predisposed to believe about us, we are a people full of hope and joy, not embittered by anger and pain. I am also grateful for countless men and women of all colors who have stood beside me my whole life to champion me, nudge me along in my journey, and help cultivate my voice. I have inherited hope for a better present and a better future.
That dream of hope has also been inherited today; through families, through media, through other systems that have a way of enduring in the face of adversity.
So, all this to say, if you feel like you’ve lost hope in the political system, in government, in humanity, maybe even in yourself, know you are not alone. But also please remember that there is still hope today. It’s crying out from the streets. It’s calling out to us all from the inside.
Can you hear it?
For me, I find my hope rooted in a man named Jesus who came to the earth to tear down any and all divides that separate us from each other. I fully believe there is no real and lasting racial reconciliation without the cross that He died on in order to take on the sin of the world. Racism is one of those sins, but it doesn’t stop there. Divides of ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, politics, you name it — all things are and can be reconciled through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.
I find my hope in knowing that the “something” that would lead me out of my fear, far out of my comfort zone, and into boldness and deep conviction is the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me who God has given to me because I am one with Him. Holy Spirit is the burning fire in the pit of my stomach, the spirit in me of power and of love and of a sound mind.
My hope is in a kingdom that is now and is to come. And even in the words of Kanye West, JESUS IS KING.
I find my hope rooted in a man named Jesus who came to the earth to tear down any and all divides that separate us from each other.
No matter what local, national, or world governments decide to do in response to injustice, I will boldly take my place on the side of history where I can say I stood for what I believed was right and for the progress of all around me. I will continue to stand for this truth and I will not apologize for it. This is still only just the beginning.
And Church, may we catch up to what’s happening in the world today. We should be leading this charge, but too many of us are hanging back and observing, watching, more comfortable with our opinions in private than with taking a stand for justice and truth. The time for action is now.
With grace and love in Christ,
Orin Joshua Mozon
Orin Mozon graduated from PLNU in 2014 with a degree in Music and Ministry. He currently leads worship and serves on worship teams in the Denver, Colorado area, and believes that Ortiz’s is better than Adals.
Images by @tailorturtle