A Message from Pastor Gary Lewis - What Does Your Vow to Christ Mean?
When I receive a new member into the church, they publicly respond to this powerful vow: Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
That vow comes into even greater focus today as we consider the recent, tragic, death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video nearly made me physically ill. While the news hit me hard, for people of color that news is crushing, causing anger, resentment, fear and frustration to rise to the surface. The protests – most peaceful, some not – riots, violence against law enforcement and first responders, makes me so sad. I have served as a police chaplain in nearly every community I have served. Therefore, I have always supported law enforcement. All of this hits homes with me.
I pray for a world where all are valued and viewed as equal. I pray for a world where peace reigns instead of violence.
I confess: I have a race problem in my heart. I try but I do not always understand why someone would be so angry and become violent. I do not understand what people of color feel when a man dies on the street. I do not want police officers to get hurt. I do not want businesses to be looted and damaged. One of the reasons I am a pastor is to help people make better decisions.
All of this mess reminds me of the simple message of Jesus in Luke 5:31-32: Jesus answered them: ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ Simply put, each one of us has a sin problem.
No doctor can treat our sin problem. Sin is part of our human condition – our human DNA – no other human being can help us. The only solution to our sin problem is the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus endured the full weight of that sin when he gave up his life in order that we can receive grace and forgiveness from a holy God.
Our country needs a hospital and a doctor that can heal our sin problem. His name is Jesus. I need Jesus to change me into the person he wants me to be. When I make that my focus, then I can confront every form of racism, even my own. It is only through Jesus that we can be healed; it is only by repenting of MY sin I can be healed. Jesus did not come for the righteous, but for sinners like you and me. We ALL need Jesus. I am willing to say that it needs to start with me. Are you willing to join me? Let us go to Jesus together to see what is wrong and then let him do the healing and show us what is next.