Hello Living Word Church,
I write this post deeply grieved holding back my tears.
I just watched a 10 minute video of an African American man named George Floyd suffocate to death. He was handcuffed on the ground while being held down by a police officer who had his knees on the back of Mr. Floyd's neck. Mr. Floyd repeatedly cried out "I can't breathe."The onlookers who videotaped cried out for the officer to stop. And now many others are crying out for justice after watching and hearing about George Floyd's death. I know many of you have already seen the same video and images as these cries have spread across social media and the news. I am thinking about Jesus' command to "Do to others what you would have them do to you: for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). I cry thinking about what I would do had that been my own brother crying out on the street with someone's knees on his neck. I also cry knowing that George Floyd was my brother, he was my neighbor and fellow human being made in the image of God. Just a few weeks ago, I watched a similar video. A young black man named Ahmaud Arbery gunned down in broad daylight while out jogging. In response, many of us ran in his memory. I jog daily without any fear of violence being done against me. This is not the case for many of my black friends and neighbors. Many have confided to me that they feel an almost consistent fear and anxiety, wondering if they will be the next George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor. If you haven't seen these videos or looked at these images, I invite you to watch. As disturbing as they are I invite you to watch. I think about Jesus' great parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10, a story that speaks to the racism in Jesus' time and place. The two religious people in the story saw a man in desperate need but turned their eyes and walked away keeping their distance. But a Samaritan, a race despised by the Jews, saw the man, felt compassion and went to him. I invite us to stop, watch, and listen to these cries of help and to have compassion. For some of us, these videos and stories have opened our eyes to the racism and oppression that has continued like a plague in our nation for centuries. Centuries of individual and systemic racism, injustice, fear, and brutality suffered primarily by African Americans and black people. Today I am calling us specifically to love our black neighbors: to stop and listen to their cries for help. I invite us to join in their prayers of lament and cries to God for justice and peace. I invite us to raise our awareness of their struggle for life. Some of our black brothers and sisters have recommended several books, documentaries and stories that we can learn from. Just let me know and I will share them. I invite us to call and listen to our black friends, neighbors or fellow believers about their experiences and thoughts on racism and ask what we can do to help. Love Your Neighbor,
Micah 6:6-8 ESV 6 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God