Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Shepastor: "What Were You Thinking?"

Today, Shepastor highlights my article, "What Were You Thinking?" Realities and Responses to Systemic Racism in America, published by Ethics Daily. You can read the entire article by clicking on the link shared below the preview message...

"Our nation seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Like never before, people of all racial backgrounds are joining together by the thousands, demanding change and declaring, '#BlackLivesMatter.' We are at the door." -- Christine A Smith

Article link, "What Where You Thinking..."

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Shepastor: "Shine Your Light..."

1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.Isaiah 9:1-3 (KJV)

In our text for today, Isaiah tells us of how the people of Judah had rebelled against the word of the Lord time and time again. God would send his messengers to teach them the ways of righteousness, to tell them how to worship and serve him, to teach them how to live holy lives. But time and time again, the people refused to listen. They angered God by their willful and disobedient ways. They worshipped and served other gods. They sought counsel from mediums (what we would call “psychics”), they sacrificed to other gods, they turned themselves over to every evil thing and even their kings forsook the God of their fathers and turned to folly.

Therefore, they were a people misguided by their own sinful hearts and minds. They were a people who forgot all that the Lord had done for them. They were a people with blinded eyes and burdened souls. They were a people who walked in darkness.

Thus the prophet declared:

… Vs. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

In our nation, in our communities, in our world, people are hurting. People are angry. People are suffering. People are afraid. Not only are we being pounded by the Corona virus, over 100,000 people have died in America over the last three months. But in the African American Community we have witnessed, yet again the brutal, hate-filled, death of Mr. George Floyd.

We watched with agony as a cold, hate-filled, insensitive, cruel Minnesota police officer suffocated a black man as he lay on his stomach, hands cuffed behind his back, two other policemen kneeling on his body and the main culprit putting the full weight of his body, using his knee to compress Mr. Floyd’s windpipe. We watched as he cried, begged, pleaded and gasped, “I CAN”T BREATHE!” People are TIRED!!! People are FRUSTRATED. People are ANGRY! While we do not condone or advocate rioting and violence, we must acknowledge the root causes of the mayhem. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Riot is the language of the unheard.”

We must ask the hard questions. We must face the consequences of generations of oppression, abuse, disenfranchisement, racist systems that perpetuate cycles of dysfunction, poverty, inequality and destruction. The blood of Trayvon Martin, the blood of Tamir Rice, the blood of Philando Castille, the blood of Sandra Bland, the blood for Freddie Gray, the Blood of Armond, the blood of Breonna Taylor, the blood of GEORGE FLOYD is crying out from the ground! JUSTICE MUST PREVAIL!!!

If we are going to shine the light, we cannot give the masses standard lines. We must HEAR their cries for justice. White and Black, and Brown and Red and Yellow Sisters and Brothers must band together and shout with one voice, ENOUGH! We HEAR the cries of the oppressed and we WILL NOT TOLERATE this injustice any more. Do you want the buildings to stop burning – STAND FOR JUSTICE. Do you want the rioters to stop rioting STAND FOR JUSTICE…Do you want police brutality to stop?
CHANGE THE LAWS that allow for unchecked abuse of power.

SHINE YOUR LIGHT at the ballot box. SHINE YOUR LIGHT at the State house…SHINE YOUR LIGHT in the community. Love is stronger than hate. Love is more powerful that hate. LOVE WILL PREVAIL. Love is an ACTION WORD!

Be determined to shine your light. We can waste our time cursing the darkness or we can be determined to shine the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus showed us the true meaning of love and light. Jesus encouraged us to speak truth to power. Jesus taught us to be concerned about the needs of the less fortunate. Jesus taught us not to be hypocritical, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. Someone is hurting today. Can you see Jesus in them? Someone needs a hand up today will you help them?

Someone with whom you don’t want to be bothered is pleading for guidance today – will you walk with them? We all are called to be missionaries to spread the good tidings of God’s goodness, mercy, grace and salvation. As God’s people, we all are called to shine the light for those walking through the darkness. We are called to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61).

Be determined to shine your light!

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris