[Transcript of Message]
From my heart to yours, I’m sending love, peace, and the promise of hope to everyone who is hurting right now. The trauma we are experiencing as a community is palpable. Our hearts are aching. We are exhausted. We’re beyond angry. It feels like there is no relief in sight.
There are attempts by people to say that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are anti-Christian. That’s completely false. Seventy-nine percent of Black Americans identify as Christian. We’ve always drawn upon our faith to give us strength – even when White Americans forbid Black people to practice Christianity or even read a bible. We all know the stories of our enslaved ancestors drawing solace and strength from the biblical story of the exodus. Moses led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt to freedom with hopes of resting in the Promised Land. Today, I draw comparisons between how Black Americans are treated and the Hebrews during the Babylonian captivity. Taken from their home, living as exiles, uncertain if they’d ever return to a safe place for them. See, even though Black people have been in the United States for centuries and literally built this county, we are still hyphenated. We’re told if we don’t like the unequal and unjust way we’re treated, we should go back to Africa. Our citizenship is questioned because of our skin color.
The book of Lamentations is the exiled Hebrews calling out to their God in the midst of grief and suffering. Even in their pain, they hope in God. The writer said, “My soul is bereft of peace. I have forgotten what happiness is. But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:17, 21-23, 26). The prophets during this period pointed the exiles to the hope of a messiah.
Unlike them, we have seen the fulfillment of God’s promise realized in His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus who was a person of color.
Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost.
Jesus who said when you see the sick and visit the imprisoned, you see me.
Jesus who said the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Jesus came for us. He’s calling us. He’s waiting to heal us, love us, and give us his peace that passes all understanding.
Pope Benedict said being a Christian is not the result of an ethical or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Being a Christian is not about identifying with a political organization or a single issue. You don’t have to be perfect and without sin. In fact, Jesus said he came to call not the righteous but the sinner. (Luke 5:32). All we have to do is open our hearts and say, save me Lord.
We need God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit now more than ever. Scripture says, seek the Lord while he may be found. Call on him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6) He’s near to us now. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6). Through a relationship with Jesus, we find a home. We are heirs to a Kingdom. Not just in the next life, but we work to build God’s Kingdom on earth and reap the benefits while we’re here.
But God isn’t a genie or jukebox that plays what we want to hear. He wants our hearts. He wants to heal our trauma and wounds, but we have to let Him. When we spend time reading his word and meditating on it, we know Him and grow to trust Him. Especially right now during a global pandemic and national unrest, we can call on Jehovah-Jireh our provider, Jehovah-Rapha our healer, and Jehovah-Nissi our banner in whom we are victorious.
Last Friday there was a March on Washington that marked the fifty-seventh anniversary of the historic March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his I Have A Dream speech. Dr. King said, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” And he cautioned us, “Not to seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Dr. King didn’t say this out of fear or cowardice, he said this out of love for us. We’re living in the most armed nation in the world, and the current president has demonstrated he’s willing to roll out tanks and troops to silence our cries for justice. We need to call on God as our protector. We need to love each other, care for each other, and know God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. What God spoke to Jeremiah we can apply to ourselves. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5). Our lives matter. Black lives matter. So, we pray, Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done. On Earth as it is in Heaven. If you know someone who needs to hear this good news today, please share.