It happened again last night. Mobs of looters took over downtown Minneapolis. My city. Millions of dollars worth of goods stolen or destroyed. More than 30 businesses damaged, some for the second time in three months. I’ve heard that some business owners are just walking away, giving up on this beautiful city…my city.
For the past two years, the Twin Cities was ranked among the top ten best places to live in America according to U.S. News & World Report. But for me, it’s more personal than that. Downtown Minneapolis holds decades worth of sweet memories for me and my family:
- Mary Tyler Moore’s corner and my old stomping grounds,
- My very first job waitressing at The Chestnut Tree,
- The views from the observation decks at the Foshay Tower, and later the IDS Building,
- The Nicollet Mall, with Sommerfest and great people-watching every summer,
- The wonder of Dayton’s eighth floor auditorium followed by the Holidazzle Parade every year just before Christmas,
- That little candy shop snuggled up to the Radisson where we’d pick up a bag of freshly made caramels,
- The ornate Medical Arts Building with its “talking” elevators,
- Wandering around with my daughter for hours as she took pictures of incredible architecture for her Photography class,
- Taking my grandson to his first Broadway play at the Orpheum,
- The Nankin Cafe tradition begun with my Aunt Isabelle, my 16th birthday at Murray’s Steakhouse with best friend Debby Bloom, underage antics at Moby Dick’s, mixing my boots up with a stripper’s after a belly dancing class we both attended….ahhh, the stories I could tell.
If I allowed my memories to travel beyond downtown—to Uptown, to the lakes, to my first apartment, to all of those plays with kids and grandkids at Children’s Theater—the list would go on and on.
No wonder I cried last night as I watched the “Breaking News.” No wonder I’m still crying today, watching a police officer as he was knocked to ground, sustaining injuries serious enough as to require hospitalization; listening to the crowd cheer as he fell. Not one of them stepped in to help. Their jeering subsided only when other officers arrived, moving the crowd back as one of them chanted “I leaving I leaving I leaving.”
Police are powerless to step in, afraid they’ll be counted as racist. I will be too, I’m sure, but I can’t stay quiet one more minute. This is my city. And this meaningless harm toward innocent people, the senseless destruction of property…it just breaks my heart. What’s wrong with people? I simply don’t understand it.
Jeremiah 31:2-4: This is what the Lord says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.” Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.”
I needed to turn back a page to understand the context:
Jeremiah 30:23-24: “Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm, a driving wind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this.”
Whoosh. He’s not just speaking to the Israelites. He’s talking to me—reassuring me and all of us who trust in Him with the promise that restoration will come.
I’m brought back to the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:15: “What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.”
Just like has happened since the beginning of time, we’ve stumbled into the hard consequences of sin.
Yet God still loves us with the everlasting, unfailing love that guarantees our restoration.
I’m counting on it. And I’m resting easier because of it. I pray it lasts through this second night of curfew in my beloved city.
Oh, Father, I needed the hope You’ve given me today. Thank You for reminding me that all of this is temporary and that it’s all happened before, over and over again—plagues and political strife, crazy weather and natural disasters, so many angry people fighting against authority, against one another, against You. Please forgive us, protect us, even in our rebellion.
Thank You for bringing me through this uncharacteristically down state of mind to remember Your promises. Give me understanding and compassion for the people I don’t understand; don’t let me hate in return. In Jesus’ name I pray all of this. Amen.