We have been in the midst of many pro-life moments over the last few months. The stay-at-home order called us inside to protect others from a medical condition and now peaceful engagement has called us outside to protect others from a social condition. Many of the pastors in our Conference have thoughtfully preached into racism in previous weeks and have sought for peaceable ways to engage their communities on the topic and demonstrate their words with their actions.
For example, Pastor Jeff Harrold in the Ann Arbor area spoke at a praise protest that his daughter, Tamekia, organized. Church and community members attended. It was filled with prayer, praise, information and conviction. The event was attended by the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department, pastors, families and many more. Likewise, Pastor Myisha Cunningham out here in Jackson arranged a “Prayer Protest” for this week for churches all across denominations in the city to come together to both pray into the issue of racism and peaceably demonstrate against it. I myself have attended 4 peaceful events in the past two weeks and have preached on it as well.
In this time, the world is asking the church where it stands on the issue of racism and our action/inaction will communicate an answer on our behalf regardless of what answers we give with our words. As a white pastor in the Jackson area, I’ve tried to demonstrate my preaching against racism by showing up to peaceful events that combat it. When my neighbors demonstrate peaceably, I demonstrate with them, looking for whatever overlap I can find in their voice with Jesus’ voice. Likewise, I attend these events prepared to step back if hate or violence overtakes the crowd. While I am willing to take oppression with the crowd for the sake of another like Jesus did, I step out if I’m expected to oppress another, just as Jesus would.
As the Communications Director for my Conference, I see messages illustrated in countless ways. I invite us to find Jesus in the overlap in this time so that our lives might serve as loving illustrations of him to our neighbors.