Addressing the Pain of our Nation

 

           Our society is hurting. We have found our streets crowded with an outcry against racism, abuse of power and injustice. Only what we see and hear is the painful cry of, “Enough is enough,” heralding an end to a history of racism and unjust killings of black people. The recent killing of George Floyd ignited protests for change of a systemic problem marked by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Renisha McBride, Stephon Clark, Jordan Davis, and Aiyana Jones, to remember a handful among many black lives that were ended. We’ve seen shimmers of hope, from peaceful protests where voices were heard to police officers laying down their batons and taking a knee with the people they protect. Our society is struggling to achieve peace, safety and equal valuing of all human life.

            Emmanuel Church sees the fear, anger, and pain, and we grieve with our society. Emmanuel strives for what God strives for — the flourishing of our world. Being made in the image of God is the basis of all human dignity, value and beauty. We are meant to recognize and treat one another as image-bearers of God, regardless of race, class or gender. While we may be different from one another, we are equal complements to one another in God’s mosaic masterpiece of humanity. God does not favor a certain race (Ro. 2:11, Acts 10:34), but all were made equal and are redeemed equally in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). We are meant to be united as a mosaic in Christ (Eph. 2:14-15), as part of human flourishing.

            But injustice threatens flourishing. Racism, indifference, and prejudicial devaluing of one’s life based on race, class, gender, place of origin, or culture counter the world God is creating. When the most fundamental aspect of us as image-bearers that we know deep down to be good, true and God-given is affronted, it is no wonder an outcry erupts. We hear and feel the pain of our society. Like a mosaic, when one color is hurt, the whole hurts.

            We stand for change towards flourishing, spiritually and societally. We do not condone violence, theft and destruction, or criminal acts by those who take advantage of the situation. We should commit acts and carry voices that produce the good and uphold righteousness, defending the oppressed, advocating for the disenfranchised, and listening to those who cry out. We are to be a beacon of light for truth, goodness and preservation of life (Matt. 5:14-16). We are to sow peace in the soul and the streets for all (Matt. 5:9). Where our land hurts, we need to heal. Where there are wrongs, we need to shed light on it (Eph. 5:13). Where dignity is denied, we should defend it (Prov. 31:8-9). Where there is hurt and anger, we will be a place of understanding and healing (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Where there is evil, we will conquer with goodness (Ro. 12:21).

            As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding,” and, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

            We fight for a world God intended, a world that is flourishing for His image-bearers. Recalling God’s words on how to live, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Our nation has lost much. Emmanuel Church stands with our community to sow flourishing through justice, love, and walking humbly with our God.

 

Brian S. Chan, Lead Pastor