I am deeply troubled by the racial turmoil coursing through the streets of our country. I am grieved over the evil mistreatment and killing of George Floyd. I am angry about justice denied to countless others like him. And I am upset with myself and ashamed to admit that all too often I've been silent or apathetic about persistent racism in our country—racism before my very eyes.
These are the most challenging times I have faced as a pastor. As a white male from a privileged background, I cannot imagine what my black brothers and sisters face every day and are feeling right now. I do, however, want to listen well and lead courageously. And while I don't pretend to have answers, here are some things I know:
Our country suffers from a dark and haunting history of systemic racism.
I was honored to march yesterday in downtown Houston in support of the family of George Floyd, to kneel in a prayer of lament, and to stand against racism.
I am very grateful for our police officers, who risk their lives daily to protect us.
I am disturbed by those who have incited violence against police and vandalized property. I am also trying to understand with sympathy the anger, desperation, and outrage that for many lies behind it.
Everyone is infused with inherent dignity because we are all created in the image of God. As such, God deeply loves all of us—every person of every color, everyone who is broken and especially everyone who is crying out to him and to the world in pain.
The church, as the light of the world, is called to be a place of justice, love, healing, and hope. Part of what it means to be that light is that we must work together to address inequality and the divisive wounds of racism.
The gospel is our power and only hope. Thankfully, we do not have a God who merely spoke out against injustice, but came to earth to deal with it head-on. Though Jesus lived a perfectly innocent life, he was subject to a gross miscarriage of justice that resulted in inhumane torture and a grueling death. As he breathed his last breath on the cross, he cried out, "It is finished." The finishing work of his redemption accomplished for us marks the beginning of our new life in Christ. This new life is to be characterized by love for one another and a sacrificial commitment to be his instrument through which he brings the beauty of his grace into every pocket of brokenness in the world—including racism.
It was so encouraging to have many of you join us at our service of lament and prayer yesterday, June 2. Let's continue to come before our Lord in prayer about this. And please pray for our church leadership, that we might have the wisdom to navigate City Church faithfully through these extraordinarily difficult times.
This Sunday our service will include elements of lament and the sermon will reflect on Isaiah 1, a call to seek justice in light of the gospel. I hope you'll join us.