Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our GodPosted: July 8, 2016 Filed under: Bishop's Blog 6 Comments
I shall never forget the phone call I received from my brother December 23, 2013. He said, “Gale has been shot.” Gale Stauffer, my nephew, my sister’s son, a police officer in Tupelo, MS, shot in the line of duty. For our family, his death forever altered our lives. For his children, Dixie and Skip, will live with the memory of their dad, his big smile, barrel chest, heart of gold. For Beth, her life spun into the realm of widow, single mother, sole provider.
For every life that is lost at the hands of a police officer, the grief of a family member is no different than the grief of our family. Someone loved, cared about, and was related to the person killed by a police officer.
Regardless of the complication, the deep seated, underlying truth is that the racial turbulence that is raging into a full blown storm, is deeply troubling. With the Psalmist, we cry, “how long, O Lord, how long?”
One of our pastor’s writes: Friends, this morning I’m hurting. I’m scared. I’m afraid that when my cute, six year old black son becomes a muscular black man some bad apple somewhere is going to profile him and do harm to this kid who is as sweet as they come.
I have no idea what it feels like to be a black man in this world. What I do know is that too many people are dying. Indeed, the call to us all, in light of terrorism, the mass killing at the Pulse bar in Orlando, there is no justification for taking a life.
Let’s face it, the world is full of people who are culturally profiling others who are different. Some of those who are culturally profiled daily, hourly, are black and Hispanic men.
The prophet Micah speaks: “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Doing justice today is to speak the truth. And the truth is that we have a deep seated racial problem in our world. Tennessee and Kentucky are not immune to the trouble.
During the recent meeting of the Tennessee Annual Conference, our Commission on Religion and Race brought forth and we blessed “Vital Conversations” which give us an opportunity to increase our capacity to deepen our relationships with our sisters and brothers who are of a different race from us.
I am deeply hopeful that the team that is bringing this forth will give us the tools necessary to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. The world’s best hope is for good, Christian people to stand up and be healers of our nation. I know the people of the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences to be those who desire to bring healing and peace to our land.
How about we share the true and strong meaning of ‘agape’ and ‘agapao’ of Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s trap (what’s the greatest law?) in Matt 22:37,38! That kind of selfless, another’s need-directed love is the same as epitomized by Jesus in John 3:16. A former pastor once shared a practical definition of this higher order love of Scripture and I hope that I don’t do it too much injustice: an accurate assessment and an adequate supply of another’s need (not always their wants). We, who are Christian, were changed from selfish, self-centeredness to selflessness. Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of God, Who loved (agape/agapao) me and gave Himself for me”. His Word also says we are no longer our own, but have been bought with a cost (sinless Christ). And we have His indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us, direct us, and empower us to do as we know we should and have been commanded to do. So, we have no excuse. We must first and foremost build relationship and experientially know (ginosko) Him and live Matt 22:37 – love (agape/agapao) the LORD with all our heart, mind, and soul and with all our power! And then in verse 38, we can and should choose to love, in the same way, our neighbors as ourselves (all people, not just those in our families and friends or who do right by us) as He so commands.
Thanks Bill…I am scared, confused and wonder how we got to this place??? I want things to change and be different!! Love ya, Susan
Praying that love and peace will prevail!!!
The God that Jesus displayed and demonstrated to the world was a God of Restoration and Reconciliation. The God that is currently worshiped throughout most of our nation today is a God of Retribution. To stand for the God of Restoration as Jesus did, will lead to the same end as Jesus faced. Do we have the courage to face rejection, retribution and even death in order to stand for the love of God that Jesus demonstrated as THE WAY?
Thank you, Bishop. Those of us who are white do not know what it is to be profiled as “trouble-makers”. I do know that racial prejudice is taught, not inherent. I was called “a crazy old white cracker” by a three-year-old one time for smiling at her in a checkout line. Her mother was neither embarrassed nor apologetic. It is time for ALL of us to walk humbly and to teach our children and grandchildren to do so–not with just words but with our actions.
Thank you, Bishop Bill; very well said … we are called to be healers, indeed! – Dave