The waves of emotions, feelings, and energy during this historic time in our country continue to ebb and flow.
I continue to grieve the death and suffering that COVID-19 has brought. I am inspired by the work of health care professionals. I am thankful to be able to carefully move around and connect a little more with neighbors and friends. I long for the day we can worship at 303 West again.
I also continue to lament the stronghold that racism has had on our country from the very beginning and the violence and injustice that it continues to inflict. I regret my own complicity in this sinful reality and am thankful for friends, mentors, and guides who are helping me see, live, and lead with a fuller imagination of God’s kingdom. I am inspired by the uprising in our country and what God is doing through these protests led by young people from the black community.
As I have prepared to preach over the last few weeks, I have sensed the Spirit’s faithful presence guiding, convicting, and opening me up to God’s newness. We will continue on Sunday mornings to proclaim the good news of God’s reign in the world, to renounce the sin of racism in our country, and to repent of the ways we are complicit. The pastoral team also feels that it is important to clearly state a few things about the current moment and our sense of Mountainside’s position in it.
- As a community following Christ in doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, we proclaim that Black Lives Matter!
- We condemn the recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police as well as the murder of Ahmad Arbery at the hands of a former police officer and his son. We acknowledge that their murders represent generations of unjust and silenced stories of unarmed Black and Brown people at the hands of those who are tasked to “protect and serve.” We join the chorus of voices demanding justice for their families and loved ones.
- We acknowledge that racism, America’s “original sin,” has been built into the systems and structures of our country through genocide and slavery and has been perpetuated through Jim Crow, redlining, the criminal justice system, and police brutality towards communities of color. We acknowledge that structural racism is a present reality and that these recent murders as well as the COVID-19 crisis have exposed it in health care, the economy, criminal justice, the immigration system, and in many other societal structures and practices.
- We repent of the ways we as a church and as individuals have been complicit in this injustice. In repentance we listen to those prophetic voices that continually call us to see and to hear.
- We passionately renew our commitment to racial justice and anti-racist work and promise to grow in the ways we allow this to shape our church, its structures, and our leadership.
- We also commit to listening to our Black brothers and sisters, as well as our Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous brothers and sisters, about the ways racism, white supremacy, and white normativity have caused pain and marginalization. We commit to supporting courageous conversations about racial justice and to taking bold action against racism in our communities.
- With God’s help, we will pray, speak, and act—motivated by the reconciling love of Christ for all of creation.