Virginia is my home state and Charlottesville is a city I have been to many times. I have many friends (including some CoaH folks) and family who attended UVA. I felt physically sick as I watched the footage of what happened this weekend. Only three people died (one on the ground and two in a helicopter) but there was enough hatred in that crowd to kill a million people.
Part of what made this event “next level” was that it was the most visible clash between racist groups and the people they hate in a long time in our country. Protests and riots in recent memory have happened in a context where citizens were clashing with the police but Saturday was between white supremacists and black, white, and other people who support racial equality. The police were the third party in the mix, complicating the matter even more.
I, like CoaH’s other pastors, was fairly unplugged from technology over this last weekend. All the pastors are seeking to develop a healthy balance by taking time away from technology. I wasn’t on the web much and didn’t watch TV (outside of the Red Sox game). It wasn’t until Monday that I began to appreciate the gravity of what had happened over the weekend in my home state of Virginia. I am still processing what happened.
As I looked at the signs, the Nazi banners, and the military-styled gear that many of the white supremacists wore, a deep anger arose in my heart. At the same time, I felt a profound grief for those who are the target of their hatred. After all, I am a white male. They aren’t targeting me but it sickens me to think of my many friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who are their target. My heart goes out to those who have been attacked with such vitriol.
Jesus came not to divide people or create some system of hierarchy between the races. Quite the contrary, Jesus came to establish an eternal kingdom that would bring the races together in worship.
Revelation 7:9-10 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Even as we take a stand against white supremacist groups, let us love others (even our enemies) like Jesus. Let us also press out to share the gospel with all who will hear, all the while keeping this beautiful vision of a united humanity, from Revelation, in our minds and hearts.
Till the kingdom of our world becomes the kingdom of our Lord,