A Time to Pray for Peace
Over the past few weeks Carole and I have joined a small, but regular group of prayer warriors from across our conference, and one “Carolinaat-heart” guest from Maryland, on our Carolina Prayer Line. For one hour each Monday evening we meditate on the precious promises and praises of scripture and pray. We also spent 15 minutes each evening the rest of the week as part of our 100 Days of Prayer initiative launched by the North American Division.
For much of this time our focus has been on the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has brought into our lives. Recently, however, the enemy of mankind has been relentlessly attacking our nation and the global community with another pandemic: racial turmoil. Many of us are haunted by those final three words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe.” The hateful violence that led to his untimely death has fostered both a national and global movement of anger and hatred toward law enforcement officials and governing authorities. Sadly, such horrible acts of injustice have fueled counter acts of criminal revenge in looting, vandalism and violence. What a heartbreaking storm has engulfed our lives.
Racism is nothing but evil. It is never, ever right to insinuate or propagate racial slurs, to
laugh at jokes that denigrate any person for whom Christ shed His precious blood on a cruel cross. That blood places an enormous value on the worthiness of every human life. When anyone feels they are superior to others, they endorse hatred that can lead to murder. It began with two brothers–Cain and Abel–and continues to fester between brothers today.
While many have joined in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, others have
disparaged it by counter argument that all lives matter. While it is obviously true that all lives
matter, it unfortunately fosters an insensitivity to the sad reality faced especially by our African American brothers and sisters – who are equally children of our Heavenly Father.
One of the best illustrations I have heard on this issue is an analogy from our Ministerial Director, Haskell Williams. He suggests that if houses along a particular street were each
having maintenance issues, but one of those houses was on fire, it would be very obvious to us which house would be prioritized.
It is especially heartbreaking when racial slights and bias are demonstrated in the church that represents the family of God. Remember that song we used to sing a few years ago? –
We are one is the Spirit; we are one in the Lord… And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know that we are Christians by our love.
Yes, the media has certainly highlighted the evil which prompts police officers or people
to act in satanic ways. At the same time let’s recognize that there are many honorable police
who put their lives on the line for you and me every day. Let’s also honor the men and women who are taking a stand to speak out and to demonstrate Christ’s love—from a simple smile to very tangible acts of compassion and caring. We cannot remain inactive or dismissive on issues of injustice. That was the response of a priest and a Levite in Jesus’ story of the “Good Samaritan.” It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who once said: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” The gospel of Jesus is one that calls each of us as His faithful disciples to action.
So what can we do? It would not be appropriate for me to delineate a list of dos and don’ts on this matter. Instead, I beseech you to pray for Heaven’s peace. Pray for the guidance of
the Holy Spirit to in acts which generate the applause of the angels and the Lord of glory. Pray that whatever you do will be guided by the life and teachings of Jesus.
As we pray for His peace to prevail through the turmoil of these times, may we ever keep in mind what God desires of each us as His church, as penned by a founding leader and faithful messenger of the Lord to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church will be made manifest–even to principalities and powers in the heavenly places–the final and the full display of the love of God,” Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, Page 9
Your servant leader,
Carolina Conference President