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The Normal That Isn’t Yet

People of Christ,

This week America erupted again over race. As the Church celebrated Pentecost over Zoom, we were all also watching the fires of protests, riots, and violence burn around us.

It is hard to overstate how disconcerting this year had been already before George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Already, there had been several cases of racial killings that were covered and moved on from in the constant stream of news and politics. It is important to understand the explosion in its true context.

This was not about one death, although it was a brutal murder that the city did not seem to prosecute until there were protests. And those protests were from every sector of the country, including police officers, chiefs, and even the police union. The mistake that is easiest to make from afar is that this is all just about that one event. That was the fuse, but it was connected to a lot of fuel.

Now, Christians are, as usual, on different sides. There are faithful Christian police, and there are Christians in the street calling for reforms. There have been some awful moments this past week for everyone.

What are we to do? Faithful Christian practice must honor the dignity of every human being and bring everything to God. I have been focused on our role as a royal priesthood for our God.

1.  We represent God who made all things and all people, and who desires that all people should return to him, repent, and know themselves as his children. This is our hope and our message.

2.  We bring the concerns of the world to God in prayer and sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. God loves these people, all of them, and we are to lift them up to God, to pray for their repentance and their redemption.

You and I probably share our strong feelings and gut reactions to the scenes we have seen and words we have heard this week. But we are not partisans of this world, we are citizens of God’s kingdom. We have to represent something larger than either side.

God is always on the side of suffering. It is the voice of the prophets that remind us, along with the law and amplified by the Lord Jesus, that God is always on the side of the just and the protector of the weak.

Take heart! Have peace, as Jesus told the disciples in that upper room. “I have overcome the world.” You belong to God. Abide in the Holy Spirit. Pray without stopping for the world around us, for justice, and for hope.  We were never promised that it would be easy.

For years I tried to stop eating junk food. I loved McDonald’s so much that even as a vegetarian I would go for fries and whatever I could make work without meat. Years later I still sometimes find myself pulling in to their parking lot when I am on the road all day.

Habits are hard to break. And even when we have the discipline to change our behavior, we often harbor habits of the heart and mind that drive us when we are tired to fail our best intentions and act in ways contrary to what we know to be good.

Be strong and get rest. Get restored in Christ and rest in his promises and take his yoke up. “It is easy and my burden is light,” he told his hearers. This is not going to be a sprint, but a long journey to become who we were made to be.

We are committed. Know Christ, Love Christ, Serve Christ in All. 

God’s peace,