A letter to our church about the murders in Atlanta

Dear Living Stones,

By now, I assume you’ve read about the people—mostly Asian women—who were gunned down in Atlanta. Once again, on top of a rising trend of anti-Asian hate, including violence against the elderly.

For some of us these stories have hit close to home. For others of us it hurts just knowing our friends are hurting.

But the recent massacre in Atlanta cuts deeper for some of us. While the authorities search for some tell-tale sign of racial animosity, the fact that Asian spas were targeted because the women inside were considered too much of a “temptation” for him—that’s a story some of us know all too well. While the murders are senseless, they also fit far too sensibly in an age-old American story that has sexualized Asian women and then discarded them.

What hurts even more was that this man was a Christian.

Turn, Lord, and deliver us;
save us because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
– Psalm 6

I know some of us are feeling a strong mix of emotions: anger, hurt, fear, invisible. I want you to know that it’s okay to not have all your feelings sorted out yet. It’s okay to even have some ‘spiritually incorrect’ thoughts. Bring them to Jesus, who hurts with us. Bring them to your small group. Please don’t sit in your feelings alone. And for your own health, take some breaks away from your phone!

For those of you further from this pain, the gift you get to give right now is solidarity. Reaching out in compassion. Mourning with those who mourn. Affirming the dignity of the downtrodden. Don’t underestimate the power of this Christ-shaped gift.

Who knows? One day, God may redeem our pain and use our solidarity for his kingdom.

Over the past few days, I have been encouraged by how many fellow believers are finally speaking up. But I have also been dismayed at how many are still so callous, sometimes even doubling down on hurt in a time of so much pain.

But to all who are hurting and angry right now, I hope you take comfort in this unbending truth: Our worth is not based on how the world treats us.

And while we strive for a more just and loving world—and Church—let us thank God that our hope is not in what others, or even we do (or fail to do), but in what God alone has done and will do.

Until then, let us bring our ‘broken hallelujahs’ to the Lord.

Pastor Brian

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