From the Pastor's Pen (Archives)
A Reflection by Pastor Lillian
Let Justice Roll Down Like Water, And Righteousness Like an Ever Flowing Stream - Amos 5:24
As this reflection is being written, the world continues to reel in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers. This area is experiencing the 8th day of protesting. Like you, I have been jarred by the images of that fateful 8 minute 46 second video, the mass protests, riots and burning cities. Like you, the images of similar videos haunt me. Like all of you, my emotions have run the full gamut, from tears and sadness to the disbelief that something like this has happened again. Like many mothers of sun kissed sons, I’ve prayed, ‘God, please protect my sons. Keep them safe.’ Like you, I’ve asked, ‘What’s going on- Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor? The list is just too long.
The issue we currently face is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is a sin problem framed in the hatred or mistreatment of individuals based on their color. The sin of hatred in the form and nomenclature of racism has threatened the fabric of this nation for a long time, really from its inception. There is only one race-human. The construct of race was created to justify the dehumanization of others based on color. Acts of the Apostles 17: 26-28, records,
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ [b]
What would happen if we each were able and willing to honor every person as we would want to be honored? What would happen if we loved others as we love ourselves? What is God expecting God’s sons and daughters to do in interactions with others? What would Jesus do? As a person of faith, ‘what does the Lord require of you and me? To do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. ‘ Micah 6:8
The issue is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is truly a sin problem. The sin of racism has threatened the fabric of this nation for a long time, really from its inception. Beloved, there is only one race-human.
As a multi-cultural church family, we have not shied away from open and hard conversations about racism, prejudice, implicit and explicit bias, white privilege, and internalized oppression. Cheverly United Methodist Church has hosted talks by the Rev. E. Michelle Ledder, General Commission on Religion and Race, Freedom Rider, Ernest “Rip” Patton, and studies including “Multi-Cultural Conversations.” The Police Chief’s Advisory Board, on which I serve, participated in a department implicit bias training. More work remains to be done. If true peace is to happen, the extra work has to be done. We will have to continue to work and pray to be the change we want to see. We have made great progress. We still have miles to go before we are done.