The verdict for the murder of George Floyd is in. We can breathe a sigh of relief, even as we acknowledge that one just verdict is merely the beginning - the spark for a long national reckoning on racial injustice, with much work yet to do. As citizens, we may be swayed to see sides and ponder politics within this reckoning. As Christians, we have no such luxury - and no option for sitting on the sidelines.
Our baptismal covenant leads us to clear, specific action: To proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ. To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. To strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. The call here is undeniable: each of us has a responsibility, as disciples of Christ, to act against the sin of racism.
What that looks like in exact terms may vary by individual and by faith community. But for Christians, inaction is simply not an option. Christ Church’s own RAGE ministry - Racially Aware Group of Episcopalians - has been exploring the complex issues surrounding systemic racism for the better part of the past year. RAGE members have shared frank and open discussions about often uncomfortable issues, been educated by contemporary readings and by guest speakers, and spent time discerning the next steps.
Far from just another book club, the group is committed to taking action to carry out our baptismal promises around seeking justice and equity for all God’s children. Led by ministry leaders Duane Smith and Lexi Couch, RAGE is moving forward with developing a mission statement around intentional work in areas such as reconciliation and healing, community peace and justice, advocacy, and education and awareness. This mission statement will serve as the foundation for how we invest our time and energy as a Christ Church ministry.
As we pray for the soul of George Floyd, for his family, for law enforcement, and for community and government leaders, let’s also pray for God to open our hearts and minds to our specific and personal call to help dismantle racism, in all its forms.
RAGE’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 4th at 7:30 p.m. (Zoom details will be published in next week's Gatherings email). A full schedule of meeting dates and topics of discussion for the coming months will be announced soon.
As theologian Henri Nouwen noted, “We cannot profess our solidarity with those who are oppressed when we are unwilling to confront the oppressor.”
We are a covenant people. Let us be willing to go forth and act, with courage and conviction, in the name of the risen Christ.