Greetings Lake B Family and Friends,
I look forward to the time I spend each week writing this letter. It is hard to express in words all that is swirling around in my heart and mind as it relates to this congregation. I am grateful to share life and ministry with all of you, and though we haven’t physically been together for many weeks, I sense the Holy Spirit doing a very deep work in us. Praise God for his goodness and mercy and love for us.
If you’ve been a part of this worshiping community for even a short while, you may have noticed a strong desire to become people committed to proclaiming and witnessing to God’s love that is made real through acts of mercy and justice. In Luke 4 Jesus gives us the clearest picture of what He is about.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
God’s love in Christ looks like justice and setting things right. God’s love in us should look the same. It should look like that for the life of a young man named Ahmaud Arbery.
Ahmaud Arbery was just 25 years old, out for a jog in February. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he was chased - more like hunted down - and killed by two armed white men. Even with horrific video footage that went viral, it took 2½ months and a national outcry before these two men were arrested. One person observed, “They (law enforcement) didn’t make the arrests because they saw the video. They (two white men) were arrested because we (the public) saw it.” And while it’s a relief that the arrests have been made, I’m still holding my breath. Will justice hold those white men responsible? Or will this become one more example of a system that consistently favors and privileges whiteness over the humanity of all people?
As your pastor and a woman of color, I cannot overemphasize the importance of white people to begin the journey of “interrogating whiteness” (how it influences power, privilege and access). I’m convinced this is part of the discipleship process and God redeeming his image in all of us and freeing all of us into the fullness of life.
Countless white friends, white teachers, and white ministry colleagues over the years have told me they were raised “not to see color.” This sounds harmless enough, even noble, but in fact it is toxic for the people of color in your life. Tomorrow morning, you will receive a note
from Tom Lane, Peggy Meyer and Marcy Yoshida with reflections on how some of this has played out for them.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I want to believe that, but it’s taking far too long. And the longer it takes, the more I fear for the lives we will lose due to violence that is rooted in the evil persistence of white supremacy and injustice. Many more of us must work faithfully to speed up that “bending” process. It is time. It is long past time.
Today, I lament the loss of the life of Ahmaud Arbery - for his mother and father, his siblings, his extended family and his community. May they know God’s presence and mercy and comfort.