Like you, I have spent the last week processing my grief. And until today, there's been a soul weariness that has made it difficult to put my thoughts on paper.
I grieve with my Black brothers and sisters who are grieving now. I grieve a history and systems that have led them to feel like their lives do not matter. I grieve over the tragic and unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others. I grieve the historical sin of this nation which has led to racism becoming embedded into our systems. I grieve over all sin, and especially my own.
I have been praying 2 Corinthians 7:10, that the Holy Spirit would be putting within us a "godly grief [that] produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, [and not] a worldly grief that produces death." Because in the end, it is not enough to grieve. It is not enough to be angry. And it is not enough to put forward some words. There has to be a tangible repentance - a transformation. As the Apostle John said, "Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18).
So as a church, let us dig in, and join the work of racial reconciliation that our God started and ultimately will complete. Ephesians 2:14 says, "For he [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility". Racial reconciliation is a major part of the greater reconciliation Christ died to make possible.
Justice in our country will be built as people of goodwill come together to learn, understand and then engage in the work of justice and reconciliation together. It will be challenging sacrificial work. But let us follow and be empowered by our Lord and Savior, who "though he was rich, yet for [our] sake became poor, so that [we] by his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)
I encourage you to pray, to mourn, and to process your feelings with one another. Let us be gracious and patient with one another. We are not all in the same place, but ultimately if we are following Christ, we are headed to the same destination. As much as we want racial reconciliation to happen right now, it's going to take time and work. But it is work that is worthy of our long term sacrifice. Let's build friendships and relationships with members of the body of Christ who do not look like us. Let us work for justice through our work. May we prayerfully pursue justice in all our systems—healthcare, education, criminal justice, etc.—instead of pursuing our individual dreams.
Selfishness. Protecting our own. Looking for reasons to feel superior to others. Hatred. Complacency. Judgment. Idolizing the American Dream and pursuing our own version of it, while uncaring for others. All of these sins have contributed to our present situation. Let us grieve, repent and pursue a salvation for ourselves and our nation without regret.
Thank you for your prayers. I have needed them. I am praying for you.