A Call For Prayer, A Call For Action

 

In the wake of the death of Mike Brown and the events in Ferguson alongside the choke hold death of Eric Garner and the events in New York City, I am calling our faith community to be fervently in prayer.  Whatever our personal thoughts on the particulars of these events, a son and a father are dead. Families are grieving and old wounds have been torn open in the Black community.  
When our son became of age to go out in the world occasionally without us (about 13), whether that be to the amusement park or for a couple of hours to the movie theater, my husband and I sat down with him for “the talk” many Black parents feel a responsibility to have with their sons.  The talk lays out the posture you take if you should encounter a police officer – for any reason.  “Always present yourself with hands up, always move slowly, make eye contact, do not resist requests.  If the officer is in the wrong, comply and allow us to deal with it later. As a Black man, the most important thing to accomplish in an encounter with the police, is to leave the encounter ALIVE.”  It’s a hard conversation to have but the reality is that men of color between the ages of 15 and 19 are 21 times more likely than white males to be killed by the police.
In Advent we wait expectantly, remembering the coming of our Lord who entered into the world as a powerless child of an oppressed people.  He came for the purpose of setting the oppressed free.  He came because God so loved the world.  He came as the Great Reconciler.  Yet, the blood that runs in the streets all over the world continues to speak of our resistance to reconciliation.  In this season, we sing “Emmanuel, our God is with us...and if God is with us, who can stand against us?"  This question must fuel others:  What does reconciliation look like?  What does repentance look like? What is our faithful response?  
Our Lord is the Prince of Peace and we, too, are to be a force of peace. We were made in the image of God. All of us. We bear the face of God and racism is a grievous sin in the face of a Holy God. My personal experience is that racism in America is a stronghold that has yet to be broken.   We need wisdom on how to move forward.  We need courage to take the next faithful step.  But first, we pray.
Grace and Peace, 
Debra Williams
Lead Pastor
Altadena Free Methodist, CPP