Rep is known for his “To Be Honest” ministries. Here’s what Rep has to say about his new project, Co-Laborations.
One of the songs on the project is called “Can’t Breathe.” With all of the craziness of racial tension and social justice going on in our world, this one phrase stuck out to me. Many of you know this specific injustice that happened in New York to Eric Garner. If not, here is an excerpt from a CNN report on it…
Camera phone footage shows Garner, whom police accused of illegally selling single cigarettes, arguing with two officers. The 350-pound man tells the police he’s minding his business. He’s clearly upset, gesticulating as he accuses officers of previous harassment.
“I’m tired of it. This stops today,” he tells them. “I did not sell nothing.”
As the two officers reach for his arms to make an arrest, he pulls away, telling them, “Don’t touch me.” Office Pantaleo administers the chokehold after two more officers appear, and within nine seconds, they take Garner to the ground.
A fifth officer joins the fray as Pantaleo forces Garner’s head into the sidewalk, eliciting repeated, muffled cries from the 43-year-old, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
Garner later died.
While we know of the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ being a part of the injustice and ultimately the death of Eric Garner, I don’t want to just talk about social injustice, about a man who was outnumbered, about a man who was overwhelmed. I don’t want to just talk about a man who was opposed. I want to talk about seeds. Seeds? What in the world? Yeah. See, I truly believe that we need to continue to talk about these social issues, but we also need to realize that the root of the injustice in our world ultimately is not social, but spiritual.
Eric Garner? Put in a choke-hold.
Eric Garner could not breath.
Spiritually, there are a lot of Eric Garners.
I started to look at one of Jesus’ most popular parables. The Seeds. Check it.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
You may be trying to figure out what this has to do with “I can’t breathe”.
Well, to understand where I’m coming from, you need to know what the parable means.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Wait? So, this parable is just talking about reading the Bible? No. And I get it. When I was a kid, people always explained this parable as “so, if you read your Bible and obey it, then you will be fine.” No! Let me bring it out for you.
The message of the Gospel is one of hope, freedom, and salvation. I think about everything going on in the world—what we mentioned earlier—the outnumbered, the overwhelmed, and the opposed. Seriously, that describes a lot of people. These people feel like they have no protection and are vulnerable, like they are on rocky ground and have no support system, like they are being choked and suffocated by the worries and fears of life. These people “can’t breathe.” They need that message of hope and life. Maybe you are one of these people.
Rep’s Co-Laborations project addresses social and cultural issues, promotes other artists featured, and encourages people. Give it a listen via Bandcamp.