It comes as no surprise that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it forces us to face the cracks and injustices of our society, that the sin of racism, which some have called our nation’s original sin, is so painfully before us.
The image that struck me last week was not just George Floyd being choked to death by a police officer, but his being put against a wall prior to that. It reminded me of what Howard Thurman says in his book Jesus and the Disinherited about Christ being with those who live their lives in fear with their backs against the wall, because society has denied them power to live anywhere else. The wall George Floyd was forced to put his back against may have just been a wall on a street in Minneapolis, but it was a symbol of the powerlessness imposed upon people of color by people with power.
We could so easily loose hope at this time. We could so easily find our anger and frustration debilitating. But I invite you, challenge you, to join me in the hope that is before us. I am strengthened and filled with hope because of you, the St. Paul’s faith community. Long before this pandemic, we chose to seek and work toward racial reconciliation. We all may be at different places on that journey as individuals, but as a community, we become part of something larger and inclusive that draws us towards hope.
I want to share these words of our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry:
“It’s not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life. But we need not be paralyzed by our past or present. We are not slaves to fate but people of faith. Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone. That work of racial reconciliation and justice—what we know as Becoming Beloved Community—is happening across our Episcopal Church. It is happening in Minnesota and in the Dioceses of Kentucky, Georgia and Atlanta, across America and around the world. That mission matters now more than ever, and it is work that belongs to all of us. It must go on when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front-page news. It must go on when the work is not fashionable, and the way seems hard, and we feel utterly alone. It is the difficult labor of picking up the cross of Jesus like Simon of Cyrene, and carrying it until no one—no matter their color, no matter their class, no matter their caste—until no child of God is degraded and disrespected by anybody. That is God’s dream, this is our work, and we shall not cease until God’s dream is realized.”
— Fr. George
You can find more resources on responding to racist violence on the Episcopal Church’s homepage.Tags: From the Clergy, Hope for the Journey