June 4, 2020 // Update from Tim
For the last week, I’ve been searching for the right words but none seem to come to mind. In a moment when our world was already tense with Covid-19 concerns and economic downturn, we watched as George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Floyd, sadly, was another in a long line of African-American victims who have been killed by law-enforcement officers, by our country’s pervasive problem of racism, and by our own inability to fix systemic issues in our institutions. How can we, as a community of faith, respond to this distressing and depressing reality?
First, we must embrace the practice of lament. In the Bible, lament means to express sorrow, grief, and mourning. It’s a healthy and faithful reaction to the evil of this world. It’s an important step that helps us process profound pain and suffering. In fact, it’s such an important aspect of Christian life that almost a third of the Psalms are Psalms of Lament. For instance, in Psalm 13, David writes:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”
Our first reaction to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery might be sadness, anger, confusion or many other emotions, but our first response should be lament. (The EPC has offered some resources for lament here.) We must grieve, express our sorrow and mourn this terrible loss of men and women made in the image of God.
Second, we must recognize that it is easy for many of us to feel separate from these pains and fears. We may not understand the precautions and assumptions that come with being Black in America, we don’t believe ourselves to be racist or a part of the problem – it can seem like a problem wholly apart from our lives. But God constantly calls us to express our faith, not just as individuals, but as a corporate body. We see corporate lament and corporate repentance. The Christian life is not an individual sport. God is not just concerned with us, our family, our community, our nation, but all of us. Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” We must be engaged with our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
This is my prayer for Fairview during this uncertain time. That we will lament, that we will engage in these problems not only as individuals but as one unified body and that we will listen to Micah 6: 8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to live kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Next week, we will be back in touch with some resources and guidance on Fairview’s plan on reopening.
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