This world needs a Saviour! Not a beclouded or distorted or invented version of a man-made religion, but a living revelation and relationship with a Living God, whose very essence and nature is mercy, kindness and love. This world needs a greater awakening to the value, worth and preciousness that is human life — human life that is a gift from the Creator himself; human life that is the fundamental birthright of every man, woman and child; human life that finds its beauty and brilliance across every colour, creed, culture and background. Human life that in its diversity, is a reflection of the divine image, divine expansiveness and divine goodness of God Almighty.
This tragic killing of yet another young life in the United States is horrific, and the apparent delay in response or justice pending is abhorrent, to say the least. Any such alleged crime is not right, not fair, not just. And it deserves outcry.
Thursday evening (our time) I listened to friends, John and Aventer Gray, share their concern, emotion and outrage. Into that conversation, they invited our own NY pastor, Carl Lentz. With empathy I listened to our friends share their story, their experience and most importantly their fears for their own children growing up. (For anyone unfamiliar with the meaning of the word empathy — empathy is “the ability to lean in and identify with the difficulties of another”, regardless of whether you have experienced that difficultly firsthand or not. For example, I have never been abducted and then forced to become a child soldier, yet, I carry great empathy for African children and families who have. Will I ever truly understand their trauma? Of course not, but the deposit of God within my heart, allows me to care and hopefully that care is felt. In like manner, have I ever been a victim of domestic violence, rape, social profiling or segregation because of the colour of my skin or origin of my passport; have I ever had to flee a murdering regime, fight for my life and family, and navigate the trauma of walking my feet to the bone trying to find safe passage, safe haven, and a place to call home? Have I ever been in these circumstances? No. But again, I choose to be aware, I choose to empathise, I choose to understand, and I choose to respond. (Or at least I try to).
A fierce evil has perpetrated itself for too many generations, and the root of that evil, is sin.
Sin is the root of all division. It took its hideous foothold in the Garden thousands of years ago. It divided Creation’s precious son and daughter from Creator, and it tragically continues its ugly intent to this day. It is a cancerous thread that has to be broken. It has the capacity to turn and defile the human heart and cause the human heart to perpetrate all manner of evil, despair and destruction … and sadly history’s pages bear vivid witness.
And sin needs a SAVIOUR! Sin is only dealt with when the human heart is bathed in the miracle of the shed blood of Jesus, and the light and freedom He then brings.
So from afar … from an island nation that is also not without complexity and history herself, I pray for a nation we love: “America, you are full of wonder and so much good; you’ve been entrusted with much to inspire the world with, but you are also wrestling with a cancer of response and behaviour that is disturbing to all who observe. A cancer that is causing the very people, who are proud to call you home, to be weary, disheartened and fearful. It’s not okay that a vast proportion of your dear people are still fearful — fearful to raise their children, fearful to be judged on sight, fearful to step out into the fresh air, drive a car, enter a store, exercise in a park. As a nation your troubles are not exclusive, because sadly the entire world struggles with disease and despair on some level or another, yet, I find myself sitting here way past midnight and well into the next day, writing this and praying for you.”
My husband has always said that the world needs a strong America. He says this with purity of heart and with great affection, because he believes in the potential of our fellow Americans. As a nation you are raising five of my grandchildren, and some of our beloved ‘rooms’ (as a church) are within your borders. I pray that you’ll find the pathways of response needed; that as a nation you’ll be able to address with clarity and renewed precision the grass-root issues and foundations of the land. So yes, advocate for change. Write letters and voice concerns to local, state and federal authorities (or however your system works) and LEARN TO VOTE. Cast your vote towards trustworthy representatives who are going to address and bring change; trustworthy representatives who are there for the wellbeing of all citizens; trustworthy leaders who are servant like, with the fortitude, tenacity and guts to bring change. And btw, that’s no small calling … so pray for those leaders also. It’s always easier said than done, but never forget that governing bodies are there to “serve the best interests and wellbeing of the people”; their job is to serve community with uprightness, integrity and truth. And yes, it takes effort and due diligence on everyone’s part (your part and my part), but I am of the understanding that that is where change begins. Brian often says, “leadership is the problem, and leadership is the answer”. That doesn’t mean that good leaders are responsible for the stupidity of others, or the evil things that evil people do, (nor for that matter, the lies or agenda-driven-perspectives of the haters and contenders)… but good leadership will rise up and help navigate the paths of right response when such tragedies happen. They will speak truth into the atmosphere.
They’ll speak faith and vision, mobilise response, and advocate for accountability that pursues peace and justice, a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
I choose to trust that the vast majority of (good) Americans are of the consensus that life is valuable and worthy of respect. I choose to believe that the “diversity within America” is part of her God-given destiny … a diversity intended to be a beautiful tapestry of life, love, story and gifting. I choose to believe that LOVE AND GRACE AND FORGIVENESS is where redemption begins. And redemption begins with a Saviour King, whose name is Jesus — He is altogether lovely, altogether pure, altogether righteous and forgiving. One day there will be a sobering day of accountability and His vindication will be swift and just, but in the meantime, whilst it is still “day”, whilst there is still daylight and hope and free will, let’s continue to pray for REVIVAL across this earth. For an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, and that the fruit of that outpouring will be felt by all. Let’s continue to pray for the Body of Christ, the Church, that she will be full of Christ-followers, who exemplify his true goodness and true grace; Christ-followers who are Christ-like in word and deed, and who live to see heaven on earth, and the magnificence of Thy Kingdom Come. Don’t forget Jesus said that we will be known by our fruit, and hate is not one of the fruits of His presence or Spirit.
I’m personally saddened (yet again) for every family around the world who has to deal with the fallout of what this young man’s life now represents. May his life and legacy count for change.
With love and affection,
Header image of Ahmaud Arbery, who was tragically killed in February in Georgia, USA. #RunWithMaud
PS: It’s Mother’s Day in Australia, Europe, America and many other nations this weekend. This possibly isn’t the Mother’s Day blog my team expected, but these words come from a maternal heart that cares. So, if you are in a great place today, rejoice and be grateful… and if you are in a sad place today, then our prayer is that the grace and love and kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ will be your portion, in full and surprising measure! — Brian and Bobbie