We’re sending out our weekly Pastor’s Note early this week because I want to speak a few words about the protests we’ve seen around the country this weekend. We did not address this in Sunday worship, largely because we pre-record the service and had it all recorded well before the weekend. Also, you should know that I am not one who often makes statements. This weekend, though, needs to be addressed.
I’ve been thinking about one of our baptismal questions: “Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness and repent of your sin?”
I’ve always found this question to be a bit odd because the “spiritual forces of wickedness” is not a phrase I say very often. However, sometimes the spiritual forces of wickedness are exactly what we encounter.
Late last week I finally willed myself to watch the video of George Floyd’s arrest and murder. I can’t describe the feeling of watching a man’s life be strangled from him. And then to watch protests and riots furthers our discomfort. I’ve found myself staying away from news and social media because it’s so difficult and painful to be confronted with the reality of the injustice so many face.
When I see a man’s life be taken from him by the very people who are meant to protect him and others I can’t help but name that as the “spiritual forces of wickedness.”
This injustice is evil.
The second part of this baptismal question is “do you repent of your sin?” As I’ve been thinking about this injustice, I’m also thinking about how I have contributed to the problem of racism. I’ve been thinking about how I need to repent of my sin as someone who has been too quiet, dismissive, or ignorant of what so many people face. Lord, forgive me.
When we see injustice we are also drawn back to the gospel. Because in the work of Jesus we see healing and transformation. Jesus can change hearts and minds and bring peace.
Come Lord Jesus.