A Crucial Conversation In Light of the Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd Killings
There are two videos in this post, be sure to scroll down to watch both.
Recently, the death of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA made the news. When news like this breaks, there can be a disconnect between the ways black and white Christians and Christian leaders respond.
We need to learn from each other, and the gospel is the answer to all racial and cultural divides (Eph. 2:11–22). Dave Harvey, the President of GCC, asked three of GCC’s African-American leaders, Jon Kelly, Darren Greenfield, and Stephen Love, to join him in a conversation about justice, race, and the gospel.
I found their discussion insightful to help me understand things differently from my perspective, but also a crucial conversation I think we all should hear. I realize I have still so much to learn, so far to go, but each conversation helps.
This conversation was filmed and released before the publicity of the killing of George Floyd by police, while in police custody. This combination of events, added to the experience of racism and bias the black community faces continually, has resulted in many protests in many US and some Canadian cities and sadly some riots as others, with different motives, have taken this opportunity to extend their own agendas.
Could I encourage you to listen to this interview, but also to be praying for all those impacted by these recent events. Pray for the loss to the families of Mr. Arbery and Mr. Floyd, for justice to be served, for God’s provision and care for those who experience this as another in a litany of injustices toward African-American and Canadian people, and for those who are losing their stores and businesses as well as many whose well-being and very lives are in danger at this time.
Pray for peace, justice, and calm, but also pray for true insight into what causes racism and the resulting tensions. We know the ultimate answer is the gospel, as the ultimate problem is sin. Pray for God’s Word to be proclaimed and for repentance and submission to the Word of God and to Jesus Himself, but also for changed eyes to see, changed hearts to understand, and changed actions in all our lives, which would fully align with God’s will and glorify Him.
You can watch this GCC crucial conversation here –
(used with permission)
I also decided to post this sermon by a fellow pastor, brother in Christ, and partner in our GCC organization who have great respect and love for, Pastor Jon Kelly. This is not so much an exposition of Psalm 55 by Jon, but is a very timely and needed application of Psalm 55 to what is going on today. Pastor Jon preached this for his congregation who is in Chicago. But this is a much-needed message for us in London. Our church has, in God’s kindness and partly as an answer to our prayers, grown much more diverse as our city has, but I believe we have issues not only in our country and city, but in our church, as racism and division lay in the heart and all of us need to do a heart check in these days, such that we not only may – by God’s grace – see things differently, but that this would result in true change in our actions, individually and as a church.
In posting this on social media, Jon wrote, “To my brothers in Christ, this past Sunday we had a Lament Service at our church. Our church is about 60-65% black and 35-40% white and other ethnicities. It was a powerful time. If you shepherd people of color, particularly blacks, I think this message will help you to understand and lament the Black experience in America. It is not a traditional message. It is a sermonic lament through the eyes of the Black experience in America using Psalm 55. It is not a sermon of solutions and next steps. It is a space for lament. I hope that it helps you to reflect personally, and also shepherd those who are of color and under your care well. Love you brothers.”
I asked Jon if we could post this on our site and he graciously gave his permission. Before you watch this or the other video posted here, please pray for God’s Spirit to give you a heart of humility, of openness, of submission to God’s Spirit and Word, and of care and compassion for others, then please watch and engage in this sermon.
(used with permission)
Jon Kelly’s Church: https://chiwestbiblechurch.org/home
Praying and heartbroken,