A Call to Prayer and Action from Bishop Lee

July 17, 2013

Abundant commentary has already been offered from many sources about the outcome of the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman. I want to reaffirm my call to the members and friends of this diocese to respond to these matters with prayer, reflection and action in the face of the violence of our society. If we want to follow Jesus we can do nothing less.

Trayvon Martin's death confronts us with many intertwined issues. Those include the reality of institutionalized racism and white privilege (what I once heard Condaleeza Rice describe as a "birth defect" of this country), our cultural fascination with firearms and the dangerous notion (in my judgment) that arming the populace with concealed weapons will make everyone safer. The list goes on. I am particularly mindful of the anguish and righteous anger of African American parents who fear for the lives of their children--especially their sons.

The kind of fear and violence that resulted in Trayvon Martin's death breaks the hearts of people daily. My prayer is that our hearts might be united with Jesus’ heart, so that with him we might risk taking a stand against the forces of evil that continue to enslave us all.

Leaders in our church provide excellent resources for us to use for reflection and action on these issues: the report of the Task Force on the Legacy of Slavery in our diocese is soon to be released and our Anti-Racism Commission continues to offer one and two-and-a half day workshops on the subject of analyzing systemic racism. Further, I commend the work of the Rev. Eric Law. His books are perfect for small group and parish book study and we hope to offer his workshops and trainings in our diocese in the year to come.

At every baptism we ask, "Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?" Let our answer today and everyday be a clear and compelling "We do!" Let our lives be the answer.

+Jeffrey D. Lee

A few ways to make a difference:

Read: The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb and other works by Eric H.F. Law. Find more information online.

Engage: The Anti-Racism Commission offers trainings and workshops throughout the year. Monthly meetings are open to all. The Task Force on the Legacy of Slavery will be releasing their report. Learn more about both of these bodies online.

Organize: Women are invited to join Dean Joy Rogers " to come together and call for an end to the violence that plagues our communities. We're organizing FIERCE WOMEN OF FAITH to create new ways for women and families of all faiths and races to join together to put an end to the violence." Contact the Rev. Jackie Lynn at St. James Cathedral for more information.