America is Burning Tonight

Chicago Sun-Times, May 30, 2020

America is burning tonight. The images on TV and social media are dramatic, chaotic, and heart breaking. This will be a moment to remember.

To assume we have all the facts or can begin to fully understand the mindset and motivation for what has transpired over the last few days, especially from those of us in a position of privilege, would be short sighted and unhelpful in this moment. As we pray for peace and tuck our children into bed tightly tonight, let us also see, hear, and listen carefully to the anger and rage being played out on the streets of Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and many more cities across America.

We have something to learn tonight. These are the untamed cries of the hurting, the marginalized, and the oppressed.

Violence and evil that seeks to harm and provoke fear cannot be condoned under any circumstances, and a society that collapses into unabashed chaos cannot survive. Whether looting or rioting on the streets, or an inflammatory statement from the highest of public leaders, these are not the ways of a civilized society that claims to treat all people as equals.

This is not a moment to take a position of self-righteousness from the comfort of our homes. Instead, tonight is a night of prayer and lament.

In the morning, we begin the process of restoration. Tomorrow is a day to listen and not talk over. Tomorrow is a day to bless, not oppress. Tomorrow is a day to build bridges, not raise bridges. Tomorrow is a day for healing, not hate. This is how we learn repentance and change. This is how we begin to treat and believe in the depths of our souls that every person is truly equal in the sight of God.

We can turn the tide. We can make a difference. We can change the course of our nation and our world. We can fight back evil with a radical love, for it is the only way to permanently extinguish the flames that burn tonight.

Pastor Matt

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