These days our hearts are heavy. The news brings stories of overwhelming pain and suffering. The coronavirus is rampaging through our country afflicting millions of our fellow Americans and, at last count, has killed over 100,000 citizens.
On top of that, we have all viewed the video of police officers holding down an African-American man, George Floyd, so that he could not breathe for almost nine minutes, even though he was already subdued on the ground. Mr. Floyd died on the scene.
There is overwhelming evidence that this is not an isolated case and that there has been a pattern of police brutality against people of color in our country. Mr. Floyd’s death and the manner of his death has led to major civic protests throughout the country.
At this time of pandemic suffering and national crisis, our hearts cry out, “Lord, what do we do and where do we go from here?”
We believe that as a nation, we are troubled by a virus far more virulent and violent than the coronavirus. It is the virus of sin in many of its most destructive and devastating forms: apathy, indifference, prejudice, racism, ignorance, pride, hatred, bigotry and the physical abuse by the strong against the weak.
As people of faith we have received so much. Our cup of blessing overflows. Certainly, we have received material blessings. But such earthly blessings pale in comparison to the wonder of God’s love, grace, mercy and peace.
We have received divine forgiveness.
However, those life-giving blessings are the very reason that we cannot sit idly by in these troubled times.
We cannot be silent.
We must speak out and speak up.
Because we are called to share God’s grace, love and mercy, if we say nothing and do nothing in the face of such life-shattering violence and hatred based on the color of a person’s skin, then we truly do not reflect what God has called us to be.
God’s mercy knows no bounds. The forgiveness of God is always at hand. But when we go astray, we must correct our ways, bring about reform. In Biblical terms it’s called repentance. We can stay silent no more. We choose to stand firmly for justice, firmly for what’s right, firmly for the good.
May God be with us all, with every American great and small, to lead us through these troubled times.
Pastor Terry Addis, North Rome Church of God
Pastor Norris Allen, New Hope Overcoming
Pastor Robert Brown, Rome First United Methodist Church
Pastor Steve Caldwell, Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Father Rafael Carballo, St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Pastor Robert Carson, Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Pastor Sean Davis, St. Paul Baptist Church
Pastor Jimmy Gentry, Garden Lakes Baptist Church
Pastor Rondie Goode, Kingdom Church International
Pastor Nanci Hicks, Trinity United Methodist Church
Pastor Carey Ingram, Lovejoy Baptist Church
Pastor Camille Josey, Silver Creek and Rockmart Presbyterian Churches
Pastor Millie Kim, Second Avenue United Methodist Church
Pastor Scott McClure, Flatrock Baptist Church
Pastor Dale McConkey, Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church
Pastor Derrick McDaniel, Holsey Sinai CME
Pastor Reginald McDaniel, Mt. Tabor Baptist Church
Pastor Micah Pritchett, North Broad Baptist Church
Pastor Shari Rates, Metropolitan United Methodist Church
Pastor Terrell Shields, Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Pastor Bryant Steans, Springfield Baptist Church
Pastor Gordon Wells, New Life of St. John Baptist Church
Pastor Tim Williamson, Second Avenue Baptist Church, Summerville
Kenneth Woods, New Hope Baptist Church
Pastor Bernard Young, Thankful Baptist Church