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Letter in a Season of Human Turmoil

DIRECTOR OF MINISTRY LETTER IN A SEASON OF HUMAN TURMOIL

Hello SKMB Family,

Here is what has been on my mind this past week: Racism, Riots and Incendiary Rhetoric 

Here is the passage the Holy Spirit placed upon my heart:

“I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Jesus – John 14:6a

 

Every news broadcast on every media platform, in both Canada and the United States, is showcasing some form of tangible ripple from the tragic death of George Floyd.  His death was simply wrong and deserving of justice.  In the background we see the protests (peaceful and otherwise), riots, looting, calls to arms (legal, political, even literal), and appeals for radical reform.  The calls for peace and healthy, constructive dialogue are being drowned out by the sounds of historic statues crashing to the ground and non-sensical, destructive rants of one sort or another.  Full disclosure, I do not condone acts of violence, vandalism or vilification. 

Friends, we are in troubling times.  I have struggled to listen well, be reflective and prayerful.  This is not easy when some around me have well entrenched, even forceful opinions.  On one occasion, I was asked directly about my response to these events.  I remember saying that I would look to Jesus for counsel.  The conversation ended, but likely not to my inquirer’s satisfaction.  Frankly, not to mine either.  Since then, I have contemplated further on this inquiry.

Here is where I am today.  In regard to all the fallout since George Floyd’s death, I want my posture to spring out of the following:

A personal heart check – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24
Eyes focused on Jesus – I want to consider how Jesus lived life in racially charged settings.  For example, how did He respond to the Samaritan woman (John 4), the Samaritan opposition (Luke 9) and the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7)?  I want to soak in His most notable parable – The Good Samaritan (Luke 15).
Ears attentive to Jesus’ counsel – “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.”  Luke 10:27. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6
A resolve anchored to God’s blueprint for the future – “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb”  Revelation 7:9-10.   One people, one voice, one God.

When it comes to where I land on all these matters or when I am nudged to pick a side, I remember that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me means
I choose a non-worldly path (Romans 12:2).  I don’t live for myself, but for Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:15).  My ultimate citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  I am a person belonging to God (1 Peter 2:9-11).  I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). 

For those who are translating this as a call to passivity, that is not what I am saying.  I will respond, but I will do so first and foremost out of my posture and identity in Christ.  In his book Kingdom Come, A.M. Wakabayashi writes, “So the gospel of the kingdom calls for our allegiance to God over any other allegiance we might feel compelled to live for.  It’s about putting Jesus on the top of our life priority list...it means that every area of life is to be brought together and submitted to the loving kingship of God....Look around you.  God has put you in situations right now that give you opportunities to seek God’s kingdom agenda of peace, justice and reconciliation.”

My friends, may the Holy Spirit guide and empower you in your own response to the question, “What do you think about all these things?” 

“Love your neighbour who doesn’t look like you, think like you,

love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you.

Love your neighbour.  No exceptions.” 

Source: Facebook

Philip A. Gunther

 Rev. Philip A. Gunther

Director of Ministry

Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches

306.533.6191

skmb.ca

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