Standing TogetherJune 2, 2020 | Written by Maureen Stanek
June 2, 2020
“A smile or a tear has no nationality; joy and sorrow speak alike to all nations, and they, above all the confusion of tongues, proclaim the brotherhood of man.”
The recent events occurring in our nation over the last few weeks, especially the brutal, senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have shaken us to our core. We cannot turn away from what we have witnessed with our eyes. We can no longer pass by on the other side of the road. We must look straight into the eyes of the darkness and ask ourselves: “What will I do now?” … “How can I be an agent of change? “… “How can I bring hope?” … “What needs to change in me? “
Today, we stand in solidarity with the Black community. As Christian leaders, we recognize that we have been given a platform to speak. We refuse to remain silent. Each time racism attempts to raise its ugly head in our country, we must do everything in our power to not allow it to triumph. Now is the time to reach out to our hurting brothers and sisters in love, empathy and compassion. Now is the time to hold up the arms of those who are weary. Many are weary with despair that lasting change will never come. Mothers are weary with the nightmare of having to bury another one of their sons or daughters. It should not be so. These horrors and injustice must cease.
It breaks our heart to see the pain, division, and violence taking place in our country right now. It is time to unite. It is time to engage in conversations with those who are different than ourselves. It is time to truly listen to one another. It is time to honor and respect all men. It is time to pour the oil and wine on the ones bleeding and laying wounded on the side of the road.
We recognize that there are opportunists those who would like to exploit the growing tension and put innocent lives at risk. We applaud the law enforcement leaders who have chosen to lay down their weapons, kneel, pray, and march with those peacefully advocating for change. There is healing in solidarity. We thank you for opening your hearts and for your sacrifice and service.
“Is there anything I can do right now? I feel helpless.” There is much work to be done but here are a few reminders of things all of us can do:
- Pray: The apostle Paul makes it clear that we find ourselves in a spiritual battle. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places…. praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful (Eph. 6:12,18).” Pray for those who are inciting violence in our world. Pray against the forces of darkness whose goal is to bring confusion, chaos and destruction to our homes and communities. Pray for peace and healing to come to our land. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our families. Pray for the next generation. Pray for young leaders to rise up who will lead justly, fairly and with integrity.
- Listen: We are to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Listen to those we disagree with. Desire to understand another’s point of view. Ask questions. Show you care. Listen to the stories and experiences that have shaped others. Be willing to sit in uncomfortable, unfamiliar places.
- Speak- Speak up for the rights of others. Teach your children about recognizing racial bias. Teach your children what it means to be honest, fair, just, kind and compassionate. Model for them behavior you want them to imitate. Your children are watching you.
- Act- Look for ways to get involved. Educate yourself on issues. Vote. Give. Never stop learning and growing. Be a participator not just a spectator or critic.
- Love- Love overcomes all and will never fail. Look for ways in everyday life to love your neighbor as yourself.
- Forgive- “Lord, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us “(Matthew 6:12). We need your forgiveness. We have sinned against you and against one another. We ask for your mercy.
- Hope- Pray with us today: “May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you (Psalm 33:22).” For those who have lost all hope and are filled with anger, may they discover your love and believe once again.
May we never forget that we are all brothers and sisters. We are one family. There are not two families. There is one family in heaven and earth. Family protects one another no matter what.
We love each one of you and will never stop praying for our world and hoping for a better tomorrow.
Pastor Scott & Maureen Stanek