The Spirit of God Within Us: I believe God’s Spirit is at work in these days. For many of you, that assertion might sound strange, especially given all the current confusion and uncertainty. But I believe from what I have experienced firsthand in multiple demonstrations over the last two weeks, in the conversations and planning I have had with local clergy and law enforcement, in the palpable feelings of commitment, hope, compassion, energy and determination among the large, peaceful and multicultural crowds – something holy is happening. Sadly, with the recent, tragic additional shooting of Rayshard Brooks, response in Atlanta has been less peaceful and more unpredictable.
The Demonstrations Around Us: But other than this most recent setback in Atlanta, the gatherings I have attended in Decatur, as well as an increasing number of rallys and demonstrations worldwide, present a surprising sense of community, good will and compassion. Crowds, some majority white, are committed to following, loving, and supporting our African-American neighbors. We say without hesitation or qualification: Black lives matter! We are sporting “Black Lives Matter” masks and shirts, holding “Listen, Learn, Love” and “Anti-racism” signs. And every person in these vastly diverse crowds is wearing a mask to care for those around us. These are not only indicators of positive change and definitive hope. These, I believe, are signs of God’s presence with us, God’s Spirit among us, God’s calling to us. And woe be to us if we fail to follow.
The Work of God Among Us: I humbly choose to be, I hope, on the sacred side of what God is about in our midst. Let us not be sidetracked by those few who choose to disrupt or distract. Loud, well-placed voices would have us believe the power and impetus for change is misplaced and radical. Some would even label demonstrators as Antifa, anarchists, terrorists, and thugs. No. We are concerned, patriotic citizens. And many of us, probably the majority of us, are Christians.
I believe what we are witnessing right now, even in the midst of this pandemic, is very much a God thing. I choose, prayerfully, to do my best, to move with the Spirit, and to be faithful to whatever it is our Lord is up to in our time. I hope you will join me.