I remember hearing “What’s Going On” almost everywhere I went in my community. It was a popular greeting, which made it a catchy song title. The song, sung by Marvin Gaye, was released in 1971 and continues to speak to the concern we are seeing on the news today. The lyrics were reportedly written by Renaldo Benson after witnessing an incident of police brutality. The words say what so many are feeling as people of diverse ages, cultures, and political and religious beliefs come together:
Mother, mother. There's too many of you crying. Brother, brother, brother. There's far too many of you dying. You know we've got to find a way; To bring some lovin' here today, eh
Father, father. We don't need to escalate. You see, war is not the answer; For only love can conquer hate; You know we've got to find a way; To bring some lovin' here today, oh oh oh
Picket lines and picket signs; Don't punish me with brutality; Talk to me, so you can see; Oh, what's going on; What's going on; Yeah, what's going on; Ah, what's going on
The lyrics also say, “you know we have to find a way to bring some understanding here today.” Yes, we do need understanding and compassion to see positive change. I joined one of the protests in Washington, DC, with my four teen girls. Two of them presented a convincing argument about getting involved. What impressed me the most was them stating that “we don’t want to go just to take pictures; we want do something.” They suggested passing out water and snacks. But I didn’t want them to create a reason for people to get too close—we still have a pandemic. They settled for being a part of a march. As I walked behind them watching one holding a sign she made and all of them joining the chants, I felt hope for our future, for their future.
Being encouraged to stay home presented an opportunity to reflect on many things: family, race relations, cultural bias, religion, education, the economy, politics, government, healthcare, food scarcity, and housing, to name a few. As part of the community, our church members wrestle with those subjects too. We are planning a safe “re-entry” into our building knowing that as a society, we will not be the same. We must address “What’s Going On” around us so that we can build a strong foundation from what we have learned. If you are looking for a place to join in this dialogue, join us. Currently, we meet virtually. The information can be found on our webpage www.eumcbeltsville.com or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/EUMCBeltsville/ . Until next time: