Siblings in Christ,
Now is not the time to remain silent. We as a faith community should not remain without a response to injustice around us, no matter how far removed we may feel in our communities. Two specific Scriptural references come to mind at this point of time if we profess to be the Body of Christ in the world:
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it” 1 Corinthians 12:26
“I assure you that, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40
America once again has come face-to-face with our unresolved, deep seated problem of racism and racial violence. In 1999, the 211th General Assembly approved a document called “Facing Racism: A Vision of a Beloved Community.” It states, “The PC(USA) affirms that racism violates God’s purpose for humanity and is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the PC(USA) recognizes that racism is a sin. The PC(USA) is committed to spiritually confronting the idolatry and ideology of White supremacy and White privilege. The PC(USA) confesses its complicity in the creation and maintenance of racist structures and systems in all parts of our nation’s life, including the church itself.”
God calls us as a church and as individuals to go deep and heal this spiritual malformation of racism. PC(USA) has once again given us an opportunity to step out and be faithful to God’s call. The invitation to become a Matthew 25 church or mid-council calls on us to actively engage in the world. Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, Executive Director and President of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, tells us that we can come together to dismantle structural racism by applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices, and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias and oppression of people of color. Dismantling structural racism calls us to be relevant in our world today, to stand up and be counted, and to be actors in our own destinies.
What part might you play? Prayers are always needed and appropriate, but at this point is prayer enough? We must move past inertia, fear, or tolerance. We must use this moment to understand and discern what we each can do in our context. In the words of Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett:
“we can come together to dismantle structural racism by applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices, and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias and oppression of people of color. Dismantling structural racism calls us to be relevant in our world today, to stand up and be counted, and to be actors in our own destinies.”
We are called at this moment in time to stand up, speak up, and take action. We may not all be able to attend marches or rallies. We are able to speak up against racial injustice wherever we see it. Now is the time to be the church and be the Body of Christ each and every day. If we profess to be a Matthew 25 church or Presbytery, we have much work to do.
The time to begin dealing with structural racism wherever it exists is now. The time for action is now. There is something each person can do in your context to “be actors in our own destinies.”
Yours in Christ,
PMRV Leadership Team