A few days ago, my friend (and big brother pastor) Eugene Cho posted on his blog, urging churches and Christians not to ignore Michael Brown’s death. It’s worth reading in full, but I’ll quote his opening thought here:
The integrity of the church is at stake because when it’s all said and done, it’s not a race issue for me, it’s a Gospel issue. It’s a Kingdom issue. We shouldn’t even let isolated issues in themselves hijack the purpose of the church. The Gospel of Christ is so extraordinary that it begins to inform (and we pray, transform) all aspects of our lives. So, in other words, we talk about race and racism because we believe in the Gospel.
On Sunday evening, I led worship at The District Church’s East Side parish and felt compelled to lead us into a moment of prayer for our brothers and sisters all over our country who are hurting — another young black man is dead. Here in our city, vigils had been held at Howard University and Meridian Hill Park.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says:
1Cor. 12:14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. … 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
1Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The way God’s kingdom works is not “if I’m okay, then everything’s okay,” but “if you’re not okay, then I’m not okay.” Or as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it more succinctly:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
The body of Christ is hurting in Ferguson, MO and in black neighborhoods across the nation. (And in Gaza and the Middle East and Iraq.)
We can’t afford to be ignorant. We can’t afford to be apathetic. We can’t afford not to be praying. We can’t afford not to take whatever action is available to us.
For more, you can read:
- Christena Cleveland – The Cross and the Molotov Cocktail
- Austin Channing Brown – Black Bodies White Souls
- Eugene Cho – If our black brothers and sisters are hurting, can’t we at least listen, seek to understand, and mourn with them?
(There are so many good and wise and convicting commentaries; these are just a few.)
Photograph taken by Heather Wilson on August 17, 2014.