The violence in Charlottesville last weekend resulted in the death of 3 people. It is a tragedy small in scope, but possibly much larger in implication and result. History is full of such examples. We do not yet know if Charlottesville is one of those moments.
I do believe a line has been crossed over these last few days, a line which calls for us to respond as followers of Christ. Charlottesville is not merely a political issue, it is a Gospel issue. The politics I gladly leave aside, the Gospel issue I must address.
Simply put, racism in any form is a sin.
– It is a slap in the face of the God who made of one blood all the peoples of the earth.
– It is a mockery of Christ who died for all. Christ himself is our peace, who has made us one and destroyed the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2). In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, male or female – for we are all one in Him (Galatians 3).
– It denies the work of Holy Spirit, through whom we are Baptized into one body.
Any ideology which promotes hatred and racism, such as that seen in Charlottesville, is antithetical to the Gospel. Any ideology which promotes violence is likewise antithetical to the Gospel. As Christians, we cannot stand with those who stand for such things. We cannot stand alongside them tacitly or benignly or silently. It’s not okay. We must stand apart from them and denounce them. We must speak up.
As Christians we stand for God’s peaceable kingdom, brought into fullness through our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians, we look forward to the day when we join the multitude of saints from every tongue, tribe, people and nation gathered before the throne of God in worship (Revelation 5). Though we struggle, don’t always get it right and divisions persist, we yearn to be part of that heavenly chorus.
Sunday I issued a Statement joining other Christians in condemning the attack in Charlottesville, and the hateful ideology behind it. I asked for prayers for the victims, and for God to change the hearts of those who perpetrated the violence. I re-issue those calls today, and further ask for prayers for our nation in dealing with all that has followed since Saturday.
Again on this day, may we look into our own hearts and pray for ourselves and others:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. -Book of Common Prayer
See you Sunday!