Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Easter People

This Easter morning, I woke with a memory that sat with me like an unfinished story.

Several months ago, I set out to share a personal story of life with HIV in 21st century America. In a time and place where HIV can be diagnosed early and treatments are more effective, I’d thought it would shed a hopeful light on an otherwise bleak topic. The story a friend agreed to share began exactly that way – more than 15 years of careful treatment and proper nutrition had brought the HIV to undetectable levels in his body.

He stressed the importance of early detection and relentless protection but as the topic turned to eradicating the virus all together, this man who’s as close as a brother to me said something completely unexpected. He believes the government purposely released HIV into undesirable populations, specifically African-Americans and the gay population. I’d heard this Conspiracy Theory but never a compelling reason to consider it seriously and wouldn’t in this interview either, but it bothered me that this intelligent man I dearly loved would feel so betrayed.

This morning’s Easter message put the pieces together. Quite simply, it’s no mystery a gay, black man would feel persecuted. Easter is the story of life-saving grace overcoming the darkness of death, not only in the way He died but in the way Jesus lived. Sadly, our world will continue to cast out and persecute, but as Easter people we are called to continue the work Jesus modeled, to bring hope and healing to the dark places in our world. How will we write the end of this story?

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