Sunday morning, March 17, I shared the following statement with my congregation at all three of our worship services. I share it with you, recognizing that not all of my readers are Christians. That said, I would suggest the responsibility to speak out that I place on the church is ultimately a human responsibility.
This weekend has seen yet another horrifying attack on innocent men, women and children at prayer. Not here in the United States, but rather on the other side of the world in New Zealand. As Islamic worshippers offered up their prayers at two different mosques, they were slaughtered by hate. The shooter appears to be a man who espoused white supremacy, promulgating the idea that somehow white Christians are better than all other people.
That, my friends, is utter nonsense. In fact, it is blasphemous. The One who created all people, indeed all of creation, is no respecter of differences. The loving God who made us cherishes each and every person, each and every creature. Who are we to suggest that any of us are better, or more entitled, than any one else? We must stand up for any of our brothers and sisters who are maligned. We must denounce white supremacy wherever and whenever we see or hear it.
It is ironic that these murders took place in the city of Christchurch. It is, perhaps, a tragic reminder that if we are true to being Christ's church, we will live out Christ's command to love our neighbors, regardless of our neighbor's religion, regardless of our neighbor's race, regardless of any of our differences. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
For those who follow Christ that love, that acceptance, of others is non-negotiable. It is who we are called to be. We are called to be Christ's church.