Elie Wiesel reminds us, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views that place must-at that moment-become the center of the universe.”
“We are saddened and dismayed over the events of this past week,” shares Rev. Charles Tillman, Director of Black Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene. “Again, we are reminded of the need for racial justice and equality in 2016 right here in America. A young unarmed Black man being subdued by two Baton Rouge police officers is needlessly shot multiple times and killed; another Black man in Minnesota is shot and killed during a routine traffic stop with his girlfriend and young infant in the vehicle. I wake up today and learn that a Black gunman in Dallas unleashed gunfire on police officers at a peaceful demonstration. The gunman was upset and angry over the recent killings of Blacks at the hands of police. Twelve officers were shot and five killed! This is an inappropriate and horrific response to a challenging issue facing each of us today. Two wrongs will never total one right!”
Dr. Sunberg echoes the concern:
“As the Violence fills our newsfeed on almost an hourly basis we struggle to make sense of all that has transpired. Sadly, making sense of violence is rarely possible. We follow Jesus who came declaring the peace of the kingdom of God and as adopted children we embrace Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NRSV)
Today we pray for peace and for God’s love to help us embrace all that is good. Echoes of the words of Micah ring in our ears, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” (NRSV) Humbly we kneel before our God as children of the kingdom, respecting the lives of all individuals. We also recognize that current cracks have the potential to become larger fissures as pressures and tensions mount, and therefore we pray for God’s peace, wisdom and guidance. May we join hands across racial lines and truly listen to one another so that the words of Jesus will be fulfilled, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, NRSV) “
Center for Black Leadership
Prayer moves us to action and a thoughtful response. NTS, in cooperation with MultiCultural Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene will be launching a Center for Black Leadership to be housed at NTS. This center will intentionally invest in the next generation of black leaders, inside and outside the Church of the Nazarene, while at the same time providing a platform for critical conversations around racism and injustice in the church and our society. Our desire is for the creation of new pathways that will move us forward and allow us to seriously reflect on the church’s role as peacemakers in our communities.