A Reconciling People
in a Broken World
A Church’s Response to the death of Ahmaud Arbery
Written on behalf of Westover Church – May 12, 2020
We live in a broken world…and perhaps more than ever, we are confronted with the realities of just how widespread the brokenness truly is. And yet, as our current teaching series reminds us, the hope of the Gospel assures us of what God has both done and is doing to heal the brokenness in order to bring wholeness.
During these unprecedented times when news related to the global pandemic dominates headlines, it is certainly easy for other stories to be overlooked, especially those that may not seem to directly affect our lives. However, last week, disturbing details emerged involving the tragic killing of a young African-American male, Ahmaud Arbery, at the hands of two white men in Georgia. This story has made national headlines, with the troubling circumstances sparking deep outrage and concern.
Our hearts are once more broken, and as the people of God who are called to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15), we long all the more for the justice and righteousness of God to reign in our world.
Imagine awaking tomorrow to a world free of both covid-19 and racism. What a sweet relief that would be. And yet, instead of casually hoping either will simply go away by ignoring them, the path to God’s healing requires us to confront these realities, which includes deepening our awareness, commitments and relationships. While we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are also called as a reconciling people to do what we can in the meantime to bring heaven to earth.
As the reconciling people of God, we are compelled by the heavenly vision of a day when people of all ethnicities, equally created in the image and likeness of God, are gathered together in perfect harmony to worship God (Revelation 7:9–10). This work of reconciliation includes bringing down barriers and abolishing systems that keep us divided.
While we as a church continue to respond in gospel-centered ways to the new and ever-changing circumstances caused by the covid-19 pandemic, we remain committed in our response to bring healing as God’s reconciling people, particularly to the deep wounds and brokenness caused by systemic racism. As we continue to pray for God to heal the sickness and brokenness of this world, may we also continue to be participants in that healing as God’s ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17–21), which includes racial reconciliation.