The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
I am writing from Tanzania with sadness and deep resolve, following the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trial of the death of Philando Castile. The jury deliberated for many days before reaching their decision. They deserve thanks for serving as citizens in this very public case.
Yet, so much remains unsettled for those who yearn for true justice, for safe and thriving communities, and for ours to be a country where our hidden biases and age old prejudices about racial differences do not play such a consequential role in daily life.
One jury has spoken. Another jury is still out. That second jury weighs our own response as people of faith.
We have much soul work to do. Can we learn to listen to the frustration of the African American community and hear in it an authentic cry for justice at the most profound level? Can we take the hard, consistent steps that all of us need to take to regard each other across the lines of race and ethnicity and class by checking our unnamed assumptions and fears? Can we in the church hold ourselves to working step by step to dismantle the racism that structures too much of our communal life?
I am asking our sisters and brothers here in Tanzania to join us in praying for the family and friends of Philando Castile and their ongoing witness and soulful cries for a deeper form of justice. To pray for congregations in which members need the grace to listen to each other and learn how life is experienced in communities of color. To pray for all of us to move beyond our fears of one another. To watch over those in law enforcement and political leadership, for those who protest and seek words to name their deepest desire for a new day, and for all of us who decide day by day how God calls us to live together.
I thank those of you who have given thought, time and integrity to addressing racism and racial bias this past year, and those who have been on this journey for a long time. The power of a Living God is strong enough to lead us where we need to go as people of faith. We are not there yet. We are on the way together.
Bishop Patricia Lull