In the past two days, we have experienced once again as a nation a steady diet of pain, suffering, heartbreak, anger, hardship, brokenness and a horrific example of man’s inhumanity to man. The image of Mr. George Floyd, a former employee of The Salvation Army, pinned down by the neck in the middle of the street in Minneapolis until his last breath of life was involuntarily and brutally expelled from his lifeless body, has shaken us to our very core. A senseless barbaric act, perpetrated on yet another African American man, fills us with indignation, unimaginable pain, unintelligible frustration, unbridled confusion, a shattered spirit, and an ominous sense of loss of our very own humanity. On this occasion, death and carnage isn’t being broadcast from a remote part of the world; it is happening up close and personal in our own backyard by those who should know better.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to challenge the structures of society which allow for and perpetuate the devaluation of others. When Micah 6:8 implores us to seek justice, it is commissioning us to stand up for those who are mistreated, to act creatively to bring hope, transformation, and wholeness. Jesus Christ calls us to join Him in that comprehensive restoration process today by standing up and respectfully speaking out the name of Mr. George Floyd in representation of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters who continue to suffer the injustices of racism, segregation, and prejudice, the kind of prejudice that stagnates the soul, jeopardizes life, and absolutely misrepresents an inclusive Gospel.
I am requesting that we all participate in a special time of prayer this coming Sunday. In particular, I am asking that all corps officers include in their Sunday morning broadcasts a Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation. In these sacred moments of mourning the loss of yet another “Black life that matters,” let us refuse to dehumanize others by reducing their identity to singular markers and possibilities. As Christ’s followers, let us embrace the beauty of diversity and, in His strength, stand up to confront evil and to combat ignorance wherever ignorance has led people down the wrong path. Let us pray that the Lord will reveal Himself in all of us as we seek His wisdom and guidance in how we can best support and come alongside our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. This is yet another clarion call to pursue the heart of God as we engage with others without discrimination and embrace His unflinching desire to break down all walls that would segregate and isolate people groups one from the other.
“Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and truth,” (I John 3:18).