One thing that can be done now, before moving forward practically, is to “do the work” — that is, to learn, reflect, and pray about issues that are affecting people of color. We need to take a hard look at our own hearts and ask if we are approaching people with humility and a willingness to hear and accept their stories. Here are some resources that can help you do just that:
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All of us are stunned and grieved by the events of this past week, beginning with the heart-breaking death of George Floyd and continuing on in intense protests — both peaceful and violent — around the country. And this while the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are still fresh in our hearts. We are experiencing the disruptive impact of an ancient and ever-present evil: racism, injustice, and violence are deeply embedded in the structure of our fallen, broken, sin-shattered world.
And there’s an urgency within us to do something about it — we cannot be quiet about it, or tolerate it, or excuse it in any way. And as we consider what we can do, we are faced with a sense of helplessness. And that helplessness creates a powerful grief and a profound sadness within us, which moves us into lament.
This afternoon, one of our life-groups gathered many of us together to lament. We spent an hour listening to Scripture, responsive prayer, heart-felt lament, and honest grief. We are immensely grateful to Garnetta Livisay, Pam Lewis, Christine Shipman, Chrissy Spears, Kelsy Wiggins, Phil & Liz Washburn, and others in their life-group who created for us a honest, heart-felt space to lament together.
And then they reminded us that there is hope: true, real, unquenchable hope — in Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Psalm 29 reminds us that the Lord our God sits enthroned above the flood — above the flood of evil that threatens to devastate our world. On the cross, Jesus defeated this ancient evil, once and for all, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the incorruptible wonder of self-giving love, self-sacrificial love. Even though this defeated evil continues to ravage our world, we know that we who follow Jesus, can overcome it in the Spirit through self-giving love and the ministry of reconciliation, which God has entrusted to us.
We will have more to say on this in time, but we urge you to take seriously the calling that has been given to us:
As a church, we are deeply committed to genuine reconciliation. That’s the heart of the gospel. Will you join with us in a radical commitment to reject this ancient evil of racism, injustice and violence — and do all in our power to be reconcilers, following in the footsteps of Jesus?
This is what we prayed for together this afternoon:
With much love,
The board of Elders of Heritage
David Brincks, Steve Clark, Alan Foster, Mike Horner, Dave Lehman, Eric Niemeyer, Joe Rimelspach, Doug Robinette, Tim Scholten, Andy Sieberhagen, Taylor Shipman, Pavi Thomas, Gary Vinson, and Phil Washburn