Categories: Pastor's Blog

George Floyd Response

I write to you today with a heavy and full heart, as I (like all of us) process the events of this week in our cities. Feelings of horror and outrage have kept me turning to God with questions of “Why?,” “How long?,” and “What next?”

I invite you to join me in praying for the family of George Floyd, to grieve with those who grieve, to mourn with those who mourn, and to listen to the pain of those traumatized and outraged by the events of the week. I invite you to join me in prayer for our cities and our neighborhoods, for the people on the front lines of protest and conflict, and for all those whose lives have been impacted in the epicenters of places of unrest. Pray for our state and local leaders as they respond to an increasingly complex situation AND pray that they would actively work over the long haul toward dismantling what Governor Walz described today as the “fundamental institutionalized racism” at the root of this week’s events. Pray for Redeemer Covenant Church, for your leaders and for one another, that we would truly be the salt and light that Jesus calls us as his followers. Pray that together we will see where God leads us as we seek to follow God’s call to his people through the prophet, Isaiah:

This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). Pray that we’ll know what it means to work for justice for all as the people of God.

I want to share with you a letter coming from several key denominational leaders of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The link will take you to the complete letter and I ask you to read it in its entirety, but I’ve excerpted and commented on several passages below:

“We’re in a pandemic, but not the one you’re thinking about… The pandemic we are talking about is a disease that has plagued humans since the Fall of humankind. This disease manifests itself in many different forms and has claimed an incalculable number of lives… A particularly resilient strand of this virus is racism. For centuries racism has been institutionalized; codified into law, custom, and practice… What is new, however, is how social media captures and exposes the horror in living color for all to see… Infectious diseases are resistant to treatment, and we must realize that the only cure for this pandemic is the gospel! We must reexamine our discipleship paradigms and recommit ourselves to racial righteousness.”

As I consider the depths of individual, corporate and systemic brokenness and evil that this “pandemic” fosters, our task can feel overwhelming. Yet we are reminded that “the one who is in [us] is greater than the one who is in the
world” (1 John 4:4). The gospel has the power to utterly transform lives, congregations and societies, but it’s essential that our discipleship paradigms and approaches and our commitment to righteousness in all its forms, including racial righteousness, steer us toward a deeper engagement in the work of love and justice as we recognize and honor the image of God in every person.

“As the Evangelical Covenant Church, we grieve the death of George Floyd. We lament that the pandemic of systemic racism has not only been allowed to grow in our nation but has also established a foothold in too many churches, fomented by some and ignored by others. The ECC will not ignore the sin of racism, a virus that has plagued our world far too long. In the middle of this brokenness, and our lament, we continue to stand firm in our faith, knowing that amid what feels like despair, we are not without hope because Jesus is Immanuel! Our Lord and Savior has inaugurated the kingdom—disarming the powers and authorities—and while the kingdom has not fully manifested, we persevere in faith, knowing that it will!”

Amen! Please pray that God would keep our hearts soft and willing to break over the things that break the heart of God, even as we are encouraged with the truth that the kingdom of God will indeed prevail. Please pray for our staff and other leaders at Redeemer as we look at next steps in providing spaces for listening, learning and responding. Watch for information and a Zoom link to a service of prayer, worship, lament and sharing on Wednesday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m. In the meantime, know that we pray with you and for you.

Please continue to pray for Redeemer’s leaders as we look at what regathering can and should look like in the weeks ahead. It’s so important for us to continue to connect for times of equipping and encouragement as the Body of Christ as we continue to Grow Together by God’s Spirit and as we Go Together into a world that so desperately needs that same Spirit’s transforming power, beginning in our own lives.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Ben