Faith and Justice

 

 

“Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” 

  

                                                                                         Baptismal Covenant, BCP, 305 

  

As members of the St. Mark’s family, we are angry and heartbroken over the killing of George Floyd who was asphyxiated after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. For almost 3 of those minutes, Mr. Floyd was unresponsive. His death is only one in the long history of violence against Black men and women in this country. 

  

Black Americans are exhausted. They are grieving. They are angry. They have grown tired of being forced to make the case for their citizenship, their humanity, their very survival. Again and again, over the course of generations, Black Americans have been telling us what we already know: As a church and as a nation we have not been listening. They are telling us enough is enough. Will we listen? 

  

In the past weeks, the convergence of outrage over the many unprosecuted killings of people of color by law enforcement officers and the pain due to the disproportionate health and economic impacts experienced by minority communities during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the reality of widespread systemic racism. It is not new; it has been built into our nation from its founding. The recent eruption of protests have a just motive and just purpose in their call that every American be granted in practice and not only word, the same privileges and rights and that the color of any person’s skin does not serve as a measure of their claim to safety, security, and justice. The words of our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, express this well: 

  

"This crisis reflects deep sores and deep wounds that have been here all along. In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a man was brutally killed. The basic human right to life was taken away. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. And perhaps the deeper pain of this is the fact that it’s not an isolated incident. The pain of this is that it's a deep part of our life. It’s not just our history. It is American society today. We are not, however, slaves to our fate … unless we choose to do nothing." 

  

We are in the midst of a reckoning in this country, and we can no longer do nothing. As Christians, we have a responsibility to listen, to learn, to pray, and to act upon the call to eradicate deeply embedded injustices that continue to be present in our common life. Only then can we build a more just and equal nation. We must ask ourselves how we will respond.  

 

Through our Baptismal responses, we bind ourselves, collectively and individually, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being. We honor our Baptismal promises when we live them with courage and humility, when we take up the cross to demand justice and dignity for every human being.  God is inviting us to grow into our Baptismal Covenant.  He is calling us to respond. Now is the time. How will we receive the invitation? How will we answer the call?  

   

This is not easy or quick work. It is work that will be ongoing for a long time to come. God has offered us an invitation, an opportunity to move the world closer to his eternal promise. We can choose to accept or we can choose to turn our backs. This is the beginning of a conversation about how we, as a parish, can respond to injustice in our world. As a parish, we will continue to respond through our preaching, teaching, and prayer. We will work for a world in which we better seek and serve Christ in all persons, love our neighbor as ourselves, strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. 

  

Yours in Christ, 

St. Mark’s Faith and Justice Committee                                             Interim Priest-in-Charge    

  

Kendall Atterbury       Ann Natale                                                  Reverend Canon George W. Brandt, Jr.,   

Raimo Bakis                Laurie Nisco    

Celeste Lynn                Laura Rossi

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