DOING JUSTICE IN AN UNJUST WORLD
Superintendent Charles Latchison of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California (FMCSC) writes this as both a personal and pastoral response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery as he was jogging near his home.
Supt. Latchison writes:
“In the midst of this quarantine, with all of the new challenges and new realities around us, it almost seems unthinkable that the world ‘out there’ continues. In that world, we continue to see the reality that injustice continues not just afar but in our nation, states, counties, and cities.
On February 23, 2020, a young Black Man named Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by three men (Gregory and Travis McMichael, the men who shot him, and William Bryan who perversely filmed the incident) who believed they had the right to deprive him of his life and right to due process simply because they believed he was involved in robberies in their neighborhood. This is frustrating and heartbreaking.
We know during this pandemic that people have lost jobs, lost loved ones to this virus, and are afraid of our new realities. We also know that even during this time racism is not only alive but thriving. Ahmaud is not the only Black Man murdered in our country in the past couple of weeks and racist actions towards the Asian / Asian American communities have increased rapidly as well. Our personal worlds might feel like they have come to a halt during this shelter-in-place but fear and anger have continued to move forward. Therefore, our prayers are needed, especially now.
Just the other day, our son went to go work out at a school nearby. We had to debate whether or not he should walk. Situations such as these remind us that simple tasks such as driving, being at home, barbecuing in the backyard, or going out for a jog may be legal but are not equitable or even safe for everyone. This week, I am more aware that I am a black male. While this should be simply a definition of who I am and a place of pride, it only brings fear. I’ve even gone so far as to knock on the doors of our block to introduce myself to each neighbor making sure to tell them the names of everyone in my family so that I am known and hopefully safe.
We also acknowledge it is important to lead in moments like these. So, let’s continue to lead in love, voice, and action as Free Methodists. I can tell you, as a member of the Diversity Task Force of FMCUSA, that there is a lot of prayer, time, and effort given to ensure that we become witnesses of God’s heart for everyone, and we stand ready to minister Justice. Locally, we have committed time, prayer, and effort to seeking the fullness of the Gospel story in our conference and ensure that we stay at the forefront of these matters of injustice.
Scripture teaches us to not only pray, but to speak and act.
- Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause,”
- Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Please remember Ahmaud. Please commit time to prayer for his family and the black communities throughout our country. Let’s remind this generation, this county, and one another, that this is never acceptable. Let’s also be ready to be whom God called us to be in this season.
Please know that we are here to help, listen, encourage, and bring hope in such a time as this.
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