May 27, 2020 Daily Devotional

Psalm 15

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.”

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