Dear Companions on the Journey,
The guilty verdict delivered in the Chauvin trial elicited a range of reactions revealing our complex history and relationship with racism and racial violence. Relief, sadness, exhaustion, triumph, shock, and grief were only some of the responses that intermingled within us and so many other people across the nation.
The decision was a historic act of accountability for the loss of a Black man’s life – something we have seen precious little of through decades of lynching, terror, and brutality. These dangers have been felt so strongly in African American communities that “the talk” has become a normal and necessary part of growing up Black in our country. Important to note that “the talk” is a misnomer and is not limited to one group of people. These conversations start in childhood, continue throughout life, and take place in many communities of color.
As is often the case with complex issues, people with no experience of this danger are surprised to know it exists or deny all evidence of a problem. This year of pandemic has been a year of deep discovery about the pernicious and insidious nature of racism and its impact on the nation, the church, and each of us as faithful Christians. It is this learning that has sharpened our efforts to develop our spiritual lives, to learn our history, and to gather with faithful people to take action. Our work continues.
Even with the sense of deep relief many experienced with this decision, we recognize this was only a start. We have been given a taste of justice. If we want more than a taste, then it will take sustained commitment, tenacious effort, and an abundance of God’s love and healing to become Beloved Community. Holy Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer call us to love our neighbor. This call guides us to a life where all people are loved, valued, respected, safe, and thrive.
Our prayers continue for the Floyd and Chauvin families, for all victims and perpetrators of racial violence, and for Beloved Community to become the realized dream for all of God’s people.
Prayer for the Human Family, BCP p 815
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grace and peace,