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Maybe Dreams Will Save Us: A Rap on Abolition

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*This article first appeared on the website of the Alliance of Baptists.

 
Eyes closed. Thoughts flood my brain. The deeper I fall asleep, the more the thoughts subside. Rapid-eye movement sets in. I’m lost in a world of dreams. There is one I’ve come to know well.

Someone cries out. The police bust through the door. The officers point at me. I don’t know what I’ve done. I scream out that this is a misunderstanding. It doesn’t matter. If they come to pick you up, you’re guilty. The truth quickly becomes a very relative phenomenon. All they know is that they’ve found a body and they need to find the killer. Apparently, I fit the description.

Under the weight of questioning, I cry out for a lawyer. The police make me sign a confession before I can see a lawyer. Why would an innocent man sign a confession? I’d been in that room over nine hours. Once the lawyer arrives, she explains that there is very little that she can do. Everyone wants to know why an innocent man would sign a confession.

We proceed to trial. Even though I’m innocent, my lawyer basically leads me right into a death sentence. On multiple occasions, my attorney even fell asleep. I thought counsel was supposed to provide real counsel. I didn’t get shit. I would have been better off defending myself. After I was taken to death row, I walked around my cell over and over. I can’t get anyone to respond to my cries for help. Didn’t anybody get my letters?

The appeals aren’t working. Everything seems to be happening so fast. I cry out to God for help. I’m ignored. By the time the day comes, I’m fresh out of prayers. I’d given God everything I got. When they strapped me to the gurney, I peed all over myself. Trembling as the needle press against my flesh and drew blood, I reached for one last prayer.

Looking to the windows, I cried out, ‘I have no more prayers for God. I only know to pray to you. Before you kill me, will you consider doing what God would do.’ After I said that, the execution proceeded much faster. I could feel the poison burning my insides. I felt like I was burning alive.

I shoot up in my bed. Terrified, I grab some water.

After calming down a bit, I try to consider what just happened. Even though I’ve dreamed the dream repeatedly, there is one idea that stays with me. Fresh out of prayers, the only thing we can do is ask people to do what God would do.

I’m talking about the God of love not the God who commits genocide. For love so loved the world that love gave love’s only begotten love that whosoever believes in love will not be executed in this life.

I’m ready for followers of God to start dreaming again about what it means to pray with your feet.

Eyes close. Rapid-eye movement sets in. The colors draw me in. Dreams become reality and reality becomes dreams. The death penalty is no more. We finally realized what love was for.

 

Amen.

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