We hope you are well as you read this. The past couple of weeks in our country have been painful reminders of the fact that the deep wounds caused by the evil of racism and injustice remain unhealed. The death of George Floyd, the national grief that has followed, and the convulsion of protests and riots that have broken out over our nation have been further evidence of how much our country desperately needs the reconciling power of Jesus our Redeemer.
We are writing to you to express our deep regret for how slow we have been to act and lead in this area. For far too long, we have been silent when the people of color in our community needed us to speak out. We should have spoken out long before the death of George Floyd. We certainly should have spoken out this past Sunday. Last week’s service was recorded on Thursday morning and by the time it was posted on Sunday, it was obvious that we had failed to act. We were wrong and we are deeply sorry. Additionally, as a result of a miscommunication about scheduling, an email went out this morning that should not have been published yet. This is yet another failure of leadership and the blame falls squarely on our shoulders as your pastors. Again, we should have done much better and we ask for your forgiveness.
We must change.
As pastors, we must change. It is not enough that we confess and apologize here, we must also repent. To repent is to turn from our sins and to turn towards faithfulness to God’s word and his Spirit’s leading. We are committed to doing this. Graciously, the Lord has placed many people in our church and in our lives that have been willing to walk with us and help us to learn. Many of them are far ahead of us in terms of understanding and fighting racism and injustice. We are committed to learning from them and from many other Christian leaders and authors on this issue. Additionally, we are committed to speaking and leading on this issue. Our first step in this direction will come this Sunday.
This week’s sermon will speak to our current situation as a nation, the Biblical call to love our neighbors during this time, and for those of us who are ready to change, some initial steps that all of us can take to begin to speak out and stand up against the evils of racism and injustice. This sermon will not make up for our silence in the past and it will not say everything that needs to be said. We have a long road ahead of us but we are committed to taking every step along the way.
We ask for your prayers and your counsel as we learn to lead on this issue going forward. We lean on the strength of God in our weakness. We ask for the guidance of his Spirit in our blindness. We have every reason to trust in the faithfulness of our God and in the power of the Gospel to meet this evil and every brokenness and sin under the sun. We have every reason to hope, for our God will not fail.
Grace and Peace,
Austin and JR