Greetings in the strong and merciful name of Jesus Christ! I miss all of you! These are tumultuous and challenging times. We seem to be sandwiched in between the COVID-19 Pandemic on one hand and the tragic death and the aftermath of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peaceful protests in many of our cities, large and small, throughout the United States in the midst of rioting and looting. We hear the lament and wailings of a people who for 400 years in this country have endured the sinful stigma of racism and the hatred of blackness. My brothers and sisters, we must hold to the following:
1. Obeying the consistent and pervasive message of the Scriptures to uphold the cause of the poor and the least among us. The Old Testament prophetic tradition left no doubt about God siding with the oppressed against the rich, powerful, and the greedy. That Old Testament cry for justice and righteousness is continued in the New Testament as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also stands within that prophetic tradition (Leviticus 19:9-10; Amos 2:6-7; 5:21-24; Matthew 25:31-46)
2. Embracing God’s Vision and Mission for the world and, therefore, for our communities. Matthew 28:19-20 commands us to go into the world and make disciples of all nations (ethnic groups), baptize them, and teach them thoroughly about God’s will and purpose for all humankind.
3. Adhering to our very own Congregational Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Core Values Statement that are in alignment with God’s Vision and Mission for the world. Now more than ever, we as a congregation must live out the truths of these statements that we affirm (See these congregational statements on our website, www.southparkcog.org)
4. Being fervent in prayer. There is so much to pray about –near and far! For us, prayer and worship is not the last thing we do, but the first, last, and all in between (Philippians 4:6-7)
5. Becoming engaged in activities that bless your family, neighbors, and the broader community. We must contribute to meaningful and transformative solutions, rather than giving in to cynicism, despair, and hopelessness (Eph. 5:14-15; Colossians 4:5-6)
My dear brothers and sisters at The Park, do not lose hope, for the God of hope will fill you with joy and peace (Romans 15:13). This is God’s will for us and for this world.
In Christ’s love and peace,