Artwork seen recently in a Kenosha window. | Photo credit: Ron Whitehead
We are deeply distressed about what happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In just one week, we witnessed the horrific police shooting of Jacob Blake and violent unrest devolving into mayhem, including the tragic shooting resulting in the death of two men during a protest. Those of us who love this country are pained to see the racial fractures splitting our nation and the increased tensions in our communities. As Seventh-day Adventists, we long to see inequities addressed and we long to see the Bible teaching “loving your neighbor as yourself" lived out, as the overriding guiding principle in our society.
As a result, we call on our Seventh-day Adventist members to be involved in what Paul calls a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). This ministry of reconciliation should include the following:
We call for all believers to pray for healing. Pray specifically for:
- The healing and recovery of Jacob Blake and for the families of the protesters who died (James
- For our law enforcement and government officials so that they may act and speak wisely and justly (John 7:24).
- An end to systemic racism in our land. For this to happen we must first pray for the Holy Spirit to transform our own hearts and minds so we can recognize, confess and repent of our biases (Matthew 7:1-5). We must also pray for those who are treating and hurting others unjustly (Matthew 5:43-45).
We call on our members to reflect the healing ministry of Christ by being involved in local community compassion ministry (Galatians 6:2: Romans 15:1) We are thankful for the Seventh-day Adventist pastors and laity who gathered in Kenosha on Sabbath, August 29 to worship and participate in cleanup activities, and to pray with individuals in an African American neighborhood, as well as with small business owners affected by the looting and arson fires. The Bible teaches that it is appropriate on Sabbath to both worship and perform a practical healing ministry for those who are hurting in our community (Matthew 12:10-12). There is no doubt that this ministry done in Kenosha, a ministry of healing and reconciliation, served as a healing balm.
The Lake Union calls on our members to take a stand against hate. We must recognize that violence of any sort is not in keeping with the character of Christ and is therefore an unacceptable route for the Christian. As Christians, we call on our members to take a stand for love, “agape” love. This love is the very character of God which accepts people from all races (Acts 10:34-35), keeps a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8), seeks the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:24) and is conscientious in performing unselfish acts of service to those who are in pain (Matthew 25:34-40).
For further information on this subject, we encourage you to please refer to the August issue of the Lake Union Herald to see how together we can make a difference. This issue of our magazine is devoted to the challenges we face and the core value of all Christians to embrace the ministry of reconciliation as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union General Vice President and Multi-cultural Ministries Coordinator