Our hearts, individually and collectively, have broken with shock and hurt over the senseless killing of George Floyd. We continue to grieve for George and his family, mourn with and for our country, and be challenged to be a voice for hope and healing.
As we sift through all of these things, it’s encouraging to know that Jesus faced every human difficulty without failing. This means that He empathizes with each of us as we process this last week’s events, and He can also unite us in a Godly response.
Jesus was born into a society of tiered privilege with a ruling elite who demonstrated little concern for those living under their rule. Even the religious leadership took refuge in their social status. Jesus’ critique of them is both insightful and instructive.
What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
These leaders believed that their religious efforts and financial achievements justified their attitudes. Please notice that Jesus’ confrontation was about what they lacked: Justice and Loving God.
Jesus commands us to love God by loving others, and loving others requires working for justice. To do this means examining where our own attitudes exempt us from working for justice and supporting courageous voices. Believers live out of transformed attitudes. Consider Paul’s words:
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
If believers don’t tackle the unjust burden of racism, the oppressed must shoulder it on their own. Racism continues to be a present and persistent abuse of power that cannot be overcome solely by those who suffer under its systemic spread. Remember that a minority cannot dig themselves out from under what a majority can produce.
Declaring racism to be wrong is easy, but bold proclamations don’t replace the personal work necessary to understand our own attitudes and prejudices. Even if listening to the voice of the oppressed is painful, it leads to loving our neighbor in new ways.
At Willamette Christian, Beaverton Christian, and Hope City we are committed to empowering those affected by the forces of racial injustice in America and across our globe, and please don’t confuse obedience to Jesus with politics or charity. This is purely the outward demonstration of the saving Gospel that spurs us on to love and good deeds.
This understanding of the Gospel drives our efforts to love our communities, our nation, and our world through carefully chosen partnerships within our diverse communities and global partners.
As a church family, we are committed to following the example of Jesus by pressing into this issue in ways that God will use to transform our hearts and the people we encounter.
We are committed to:
- Following the example of Jesus by pressing into this issue in ways that God will use to transform out hearts and the people we encounter.
- Sharing resources from trusted and diverse leaders.
- Continuing to respect all persons, never condoning or advocating for the destruction of personal property, livelihoods, or places of business.
- Examining ways to grow in ethnic representation and cultural inclusivity.
- Continuing to expand our support of organizations that promote equity and compassion like The Contingent and Africa New Life Ministries.
- Finally, an essential part of living lives of radical hospitality, uncommon humility, and sacrificial generosity is to pursue the Spirit of the living God and ask Him to do something new in each of us.
As part of our church family, we are asking you to:
- Pause. Reflect. Invite God to reveal your attitudes about what you feel entitled to and exempt from.
- Ask Him to open your ears and heart to the inconvenient voice.
- Ask Him to transform your actions from condemnation of others, into life giving acts of service.
- Be people of peace. Promote the purposes of peace, healing, and the Gospel in our cities and our communities.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.