We Stand With You
In light of the darkness we have seen across our country with regards to the injustices around race, the leadership of Connect Church is led to speak into the pain and also confusion surrounding the death of black men like George Floyd., the violence by and against police and the cries being heard concerning racism. Our desire and prayer is to be more than just an added voice to the ear-ringing cacophony of opinions being spoken which neither helps or brings healing. Instead we want to communicate that we hear from our black brothers’ and sisters’ pain and grief, because life right now is not how it should be. We long with them for God’s Kingdom to be present on earth as it is right now in heaven. We acknowledge that, even though the Connect Church community cannot fully understand this grief because of our primarily white ethnicity, we believe fully in the beauty of diversity God created within humanity. We long for the day when all nations, tongues, languages and ethnicities will stand before the throne of God in unified worship. Until then, we cry with the saints of all color in heaven, “How long, O Lord? Come, Lord Jesus!”
We also long to communicate that this present crisis is connected to the Gospel, and therefore we call Connect Church and disciples all over to live into the Gospel today. In Ephesians 2, we find the Gospel beautifully expressed with sharp words that we were dead in our sins because we followed the ways of the world. As the church, we confess that this death by sin was true for each one of us, but we raise up our hands in unity around the face that “God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ”—by grace we each have been saved. The wall of hostility that existed between us and God has been torn down by the love of God expressed through the pain and even confusion of Jesus’ death.
There was a cacophony of noise surrounding Jesus’ death, but what we find here is that God’s voice rang louder, “Love!” What is beautiful about the murder of the incarnate God who took on the flesh of a Jewish man is that it not only saves us from the result of sin which is death, but it also transforms how we live in relationship with each other.
This is why Paul moves to vs. 11, “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh were called ‘the uncircumcision.'” Let’s just stop there and note: “uncircumcision” was a derogatory term used by Jews surrounding ethnicity. “Uncircumcision” is a term for anyone who is not a Jew (AKA, most likely you and me). Paul does not stop there, but goes on to say, “For [Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one (Jew & Gentile) and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (not only between us and God, but between all of us in our ethnic diversity)…that he might create in himself one ‘new man in the place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one boy through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (vs.14, 16).
We as leadership at Connect Church long to bring this Gospel to light in how we live during this dark time. We no longer live according to the ways of the world, but according to the ways of Jesus! Which means, may we not speak ignorantly our opinions, but speak loudly, “Love!” May we not add to the hostility of our society, but be ears of hearing and agents of healing to image bearers of God whose skin is black. May we not seek to simply make our opinion know, but seek first the Kingdom and live according to the ways of Jesus, which are to be empathetic, compassionate, and loving citizens of the diversely beautiful kingdom of God! We love Jesus, we love his church, may others love Jesus today because of how we live today like Jesus as his church.