1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
3 who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5 who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.
When I was growing up I thought about sin as something you did that was
"bad" or "wrong"- the obvious things like telling lies, stealing, etc. It wasn't
until many years later that I started to think of sin as the way our societies
are set up to benefit some and oppress others. We see the impact of this
each and every day. As many have said before me, "America's other
pandemic is racism." Images of our Black and Brown siblings being killed
and falsely accused have yet again flashed across our screens. The sin of
white supremacy is not welcome on God's holy hill and we must work so
hard to dismantle it.
This morning I found myself returning to words by the Rev. Dr. J Herbert
Nelson, the Stated Clerk of the GA of the PC(USA), from 2016 in response
to the killing of Philando Castille and Alton Stirling. These words remain
true in the wake of George Floyd's killing and the systemic racism/sin that
has not stopped.
“While these police killings are occurring, it is apparent that we remain a
denomination that struggles to engage the truth about our own privilege. As
church leaders, we find it easy to offer prayers for the families while
mentioning a statement in our Sunday morning sermons about the
struggles of racism in the U.S. Yet our depth of commitment to resolve the
problem of blatant racism within our own communities is often shallow and
meaningless. Therefore, police departments charged with the responsibility
to protect and serve remain unchecked by common citizens, because we
are not calling powers and principalities into accountability as a response to
the gospel message. The Bible reminds us that, 'You are from God, little
children, and have overcome them, because greater is the one who is in
you than the one who is in the world' (I John 4:4). Our ability to overcome the world by the God-bestowed power within us requires faith and courage. Our silence on the race issue is not an option anymore, and it really never
has been. I invite sessions and mid councils to take concrete actions to
address this epidemic in local communities and our nation.”