He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8
“Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
With the pandemic and the recent rounds of reopening we became used to talking about "returning back to normal." Then George Floyd was murdered, protests and riots spread across the world faster than COVID, and all of sudden white Americans have had to reawaken to a fact that black Americans have known their whole lives: "normal was never ok." Black America doesn't want a return to normal, they want a new normal, they want equality, they want justice. As people of the Triune God, we should want the same.
Seven Rivers Church, what should we do? What can we do? Where do we start? Here are some ideas:
Listen to this sermon (starts at 34:52) by D.J. Davis at New City Church West End in St. Louis last Sunday. New City is a multi-cultural church that wrestles with the gospel and its implications for race relations every day. The senior pastor, Thurman Williams, came and preached at Seven Rivers for MLK Day 2018.
Read this statement by former president, George W. Bush.
If you didn't join us back in January at the Crystal River mall to watch the movie, Just Mercy, Warner Brothers has made it free to rent during the month of June through these online platforms: Apple TV, FandangoNow, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, PlayStation Store, Vudu, Microsoft, and YouTube.
Ray's son-in-law, Eric Stites, posted this helpful advice on Facebook. They live in an economically depressed, black neighborhood of Orlando and have been doing ministry there for many years.
My wife is friends with a couple who live in a metropolitan city. She is white, he is black, they both love Jesus and the church. She posted this about her husband who is a doctor and was helping clean up after riots.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
So if any of this has moved you, the first thing you should do is pray. That is what we will do in worship this weekend. We will ask God to heal Citrus County, to heal our country, to heal our world, and most importantly to heal us. G.K. Chesterton famously answered the seemingly complex question, "What is wrong with the world?", with two simple words: "I am."
We must listen to our black brothers and sisters, and we must cry out in lament with them. Then we must be ready for God to say, "Now, go do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with me."