Update from Purpose Life Church
So this week I decided to pen some thoughts on paper (or in this case: type some words on a computer). Yet even as I stare at the screen I find myself not even knowing what to say; despite my mind being so full. Because my heart is heavy and even though my mouth opens.. no words come out. Alas
Instead of the normal weekly update that our office team sends out, informing you of the amazing activities, services and outreach that is happening, we opted to let this weeks communication be a little different.
It's going to be lengthy
it's going to be heartfelt
in fact it will likely read more like a blog post
yet nonetheless it will be glorious, so please read all
Why do I keep saying this?
Why do we keep hearing this?
Why do we need to keep saying this?
Because we have to....
I acknowledge and am honored to lead a faith-community that is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-generational yet I can not ignore that for generations past and present, we as a society have been taught that we (people of color) don't matter. If we are going to change the narrative (outcome & treatment), we must first change perception
Because Jesus said it....
Scripture captures numerous illustrations and messages that Jesus himself expresses about "the least" or the "hurting" or "the most vulnerable". The manner in how we treat the least of those in our society, is how we treat the very Lord himself.
Why did the murder of George Floyd cause so much national unrest?
Because we were already at the tipping point
- we were already experiencing devastating and inequitable human losses in the Black and Brown communities due to COVID-19
- we were already tense from being cooped up and certainly was drugged up from media-overload
- we saw it... the world saw it.. and saw it.... and saw it again.. This wasn't an historical news event this was a present day televised murder
- we are tired and not OK
The Tipping Point
A number of years ago when our kids were younger our family took a trip to Sesame Place. One of the favorite rides for our kids and many other park-goers is Count's Splash Castle. At the center of this splash and slide park is a 1,000-gallon 8-ft. tipping bucket. As the water gradually fills the bucket, it eventually tips over showering the gleeful park guests with an overflow of water.
Whether it is because of; noticeable financial inequities, lesser access to key services, the documented disparity in how ethnic communities are treated, injustices against our men/women/families or the many other streams of prejudice and inequalities that has flowed in to the bucket of our existence.... it has filled us to this tipping point. Instead of being showered with the refreshing flow of water, the streets are showered with the stinging pellets of anger and pain.
We have to deal with the outpouring of pain, but we also have to deal with the systemic structure of the bucket
Protesting (not rioting) is a necessary response that as a church and as believers we should naturally express. This protesting can take on many forms; for some it will be prayer, others marching, but for everyone of us regardless of our background, complexion, ethnicity or spiritual maturity the protest should be "thoughtful" and should not stain our testimony. In other words, don't let today's anger, rob of tomorrows witness
There are a lot of people that I love, who are angry
There are a lot of people that I love, who are hurting
There are a lot of people that I love, who are speechless
There are a number of people that I love, who don’t get it
There perhaps are even a few people that I love, who may not care…
A somewhat rhetorical question was once asked of a wise teacher,
“How does one achieve eternal success?”
The wise teacher replied by asking a question and it was understood that
Eternal success is promised to those who love God and love their Neighbors
The man, feeling the need to justify himself to the teacher, then proudly goes on to say (and I’m paraphrasing) “I completely understand the Love God part, in fact I believe I do a pretty good job of loving people, but just so I know, can you clarify Who is my Neighbor?”
The wise teacher then provided an illustration which featured; the horrific act of [robbery], the callous act of [busyness] and the redeeming action of inconveniencing oneself to provide [care]
Who then is our neighbor?
The ones who are abused, attacked, victimized and often bleeding by the roadside of modern-day inequality. The ones who are just waiting for someone with the compassion to “slow down” enough to care.... and help them breathe the "air of freedom" that every boy, girl, man and woman deserves.
“Blessed are those who slow down, for their hearts and their eternal promises shall be sped up”
Yes, I do believe that we are living in what the bible refers to as the last days and that our eyes should be towards the heavens as we look forward to the Lords glorious return. Yet I do believe that our expectations of Glory should not keep us comfortable in our buildings, but should push us out into the culture. The best form of protesting is the one that allows us to see the hurting, and tend to their wounds
I am encouraging that you take some time to slow down this week. To be introspective, prayerful and strategic.
We love you
We believe in the greatness that is within you
We will get through this!!!
We will together, create and hand down a brighter legacy!!
God is still with us
Pastors Heston & Sharese