From Father Charles:
I write to offer you a few thoughts about the events that occurred last weekend. As you know, this past Saturday a number of people gathered in Charlottesville, VA to spread their own racist ideology. The demonstration turned violent leading to the injury of countless people and the death of three: Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper M. M. Bates. This demonstration of racism and hatred are sinful. Racist and hateful acts are always sinful and they are always anti-Christ. You did not misread that. Racism and hate are anti-Christ because they always stand against the work of Jesus Christ in the world. As members of the Body of Christ, Jesus’ holy, catholic, and apostolic Church we are called to stand against racism and hatred because these things are against the work of Jesus Christ in the world. Jesus’ work in the world is the restoration of all of creation and humankind to friendship with God.
You see, “in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1) God endowed humankind, that is every person regardless of race or any other characteristic, with the dignity, honor, and glory of being created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-28). Even though through the sins of our first parents, Adam and Eve, sin entered into the world every single person is still born with the dignity, honor, and glory of being created in the image and likeness of God. God has so wonderfully created humankind and yet even more wonderfully restored the dignity of human nature through the incarnation when the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ, was made flesh (John 1:14).
Thus, all of humankind, that is every person who has or will ever live, is both created in the image and likeness of God and has had his or her nature further dignified and glorified by virtue of God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, becoming human. Everyone you meet is a person created in the image and likeness of God just like Jesus was. It is because of the image of God that resides in each of us and willingness of God to become human that we as Christians “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being” (BCP p. 305).
In our baptisms and at every baptism we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” We do this at every baptism because baptism is where we receive adoption as God’s sons and daughters for ever and the restoration of our own dignity. As fully baptized members of Jesus’ body, the Church, what should our response be to acts of racism and hatred?
We must pray for the salvation and redemption of the world through the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus Christ. We must pray without end for the end of all things that seek to separate and divide people from God and one another. We must confess our own sins, repent, and pray for one another for the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16). As Christians, it is our job to pray for everyone.
Secondly, we must be intentional in the way in which we live our lives daily so that they are a bold and powerful witness to the hope of Jesus Christ that is in is. At work, at home, at play, and even at church we must “lead a life worthy of the calling to which…[we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:1-4). We must be willing to stand with those who are marginalized and hurting and we must stand with them in a powerful, gentle, Holy Spirit filled manner that allows others to see the Good News of God in Jesus Christ.
“O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ” (BCP 252). Give us the grace to recognize the image of God in every person and the will to love everyone as you have loved us. Amen.
Plus a little more, from Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, as posted on Facebook ….
The text of Presiding Bishop Curry’s address, and more, can be found at this URL: