Celebrate with those who are celebrating, mourn with the mourners.
[New Testament for Everyone]
There’s been much on my heart this week. The Spirit has directed me to Paul’s first letter to Timothy, which I look forward to sharing with you soon. A close friend has been in the hospital. Our daughters went back to school, and that was joyful to the nth degree for them. A friend’s daughter took her own life last Saturday….
Yet what is on the forefront of about everyone’s mind are the events of Charlottesville. Personally, I have so many jumbled thoughts, that I feel it best to let someone else speak. My friend Jermayne Chapman wrote “An Open Letter to Pastors” this past Sunday that is beyond worth sharing.
So thank you, Jermayne, for sharing so freely, my brother.
Here is the post in its entirety:
An Open Letter to Pastors this Sunday Morning, August 13, 2017
I hope you are well this Sunday. I’m sure you are caught up in last minute prep for Sunday morning.
In light of the events that happened in Charlottesville, VA, I wanted to challenge you this Sunday morning. I wanted to challenge to not remain silent this Sunday morning on what just happened in our country.
Somewhere in the service, preferably towards the beginning, you need to acknowledge what happened in Charlottesville. You will need to call out racism and denounce white supremacy. That’s not a political thing, it’s the right thing. You will need to weep with those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally. Not based on whether or not you fully understand why someone may be hurting. You need to do this even if everyone in your congregation looks like you. Because everyone in your congregation will need to hear how they should respond when they observe racism or when a co-worker, a friend or a neighbor suffers from the pain of a racist experience. You will need to pray for healing and peace.
This is a lot to ask, so I’ve taken the time to write out what you can say in case you have no time to prepare.
“Many of you may already be aware of the events that took place this weekend in Charlottesville. As we have learned from Jesus and the Parable of the Good Samaritan, white supremacy is wrong and has no place in our church or in our society. While there are those who are hurting from direct involvement, many more brothers and sisters have been traumatized by the occurrence of these events and the reminder they create of our shared history and the parts of that still persist today. The Apostle Paul encourages us in Romans 12 to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It is in that spirit as well as that of the Good Samaritan that I would like for us to take the time to pray. Pray for all of those who are hurting. We need to pray for justice to prevail in the terrorist attack yesterday. We need to pray for the Body of Christ to continue to reject the sin of racism in all its forms and be the healing balm our society deeply needs right now. Let us pray….”
Feel free to use this or parts of this. Feel free to do something in the spirit of this. You can do many things, but one this you can not do…YOU CAN NOT BE SILENT ON THIS.
In coaching leaders, I like to give a ‘Good-Better-Best’ option. A ‘Good’ option would be to condemn what happened and pray for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally. A ‘Better’ option would be to pray and speak from scripture about why this is wrong and how we as the Body of Christ should respond. And of course, the ‘Best’ option would be to completely redo the Sunday morning service to take the time to address this from scripture and allow people time to pray and process.
Since ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ both involve great planning and you need to preach in a few hours, I’ve offered a ‘Good’ solution. I challenge you to create a ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ option for your congregation at some point. If you need help, let me know. Thank you for how you serve and I’m praying for you today.