Living In a Time of Convulsive Violence

July 08, 2016

Dear Friends,

We are in a time of convulsive violence, here and around the world. Just this week, we have witnessed the killings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the hands of police officers, and then the killings of five police officers who were working to ensure the safety of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

So much of this violence is rooted in the rage and hatred fueled by racial injustice. So much of it is justified by blasphemous claims of religious superiority. So much of it seems like a retreat into humankind’s ancient pattern of maintaining the illusion of community by creating victims who are “other.” Evil has many guises.

In the face of all this, I ask us to draw close to the words, the example of Jesus. His challenge to us in the parable of the Good Samaritan is to reject the sinful categories we use to turn other human beings into labels instead of persons bearing the image of the living God. I ask us to renew our commitment to all the ways we are at work in our church and in the world to dismantle structures of racism and sexism, homophobia and hateful political rhetoric. I ask us to redouble our efforts to work for sensible gun safety measures and support community policing practices and officers who are working to heal communities. I ask us to put our prayer into practice. I ask that our church be a sign of hope for people who have many reasons to have lost hope.

Remember the truth of the gospel--sin and death have lost their ultimate power. Jesus Christ has triumphed over every evil and entrusted to us the task of making his victory more and more a reality in the life of this world. Even at the grave we make our song. Alleluia.

In Christ,