How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? Psalm 13:1-2a
Another eight people have been killed in our nation because of hate. The violence that took place in Atlanta should shake us all. How are we as individuals, churches, and a nation addressing the racism that is present in our society? How do we call out our leaders, friends and neighbors that use dehumanizing language when they speak of people who are different than they are? How do we stop the senseless violence?
Sometimes we can feel like there is nothing we can do. This happened across the country, what does this have to do with Oregon? We have issues of hate and racism in our state today as well. And, we need to continue to learn from our history as a state. We have an ugly history with regards to segregation, sun down laws and other ways that the black community was singled out. We have a history of interment camps for Japanese immigrants during World War II, moved to camps out of fear that they were the enemy or at least they looked like the enemy. The problem with this history is that it can live in our bones and our laws even if we believe that we have moved past it.
The Monday night Book Study that Steve Silver has been leading on privilege is a positive step. Whenever we lift up those who have been cast aside
and discriminated against we make a positive step. I do think this is a subject that we will take a few steps forward and then take a step or two back because so much of racism can be veiled in our every day lives.
Even the way that the shooting was talked about in Atlanta on the news could make one think that it was the victim’s fault or a consequence of their place of employment. We have to name hate and racism when we see it and not try to make excuses for it.
This Evangel will come out during Holy Week. A time when we can look at ourselves and see the ways that we continue to condemn Christ Jesus to the cross. But, we will also have an opportunity to witness again Christ rising from the dead. So that there is no place in heaven or hell that Christ has not redeemed. And, since Christ has set us free from our sentence to judgement and death, how are we going to respond? How are we going to speak for the voiceless as Jesus did? How are we going to sit with the outcast like Jesus did? How are we going to look to our past to create a future that reflects the grace and mercy that we have received from Jesus? I don’t have all the answers but we need to continue to ask questions and have those questions lead to action.