News & Notes

Christ Love in a Time of Unrest - A Letter from Bishop Lecakes

The death of Mr. George Floyd has brought to light the ongoing tensions in our life together as a nation. He was not heard in his final moments as his life was taken.

6/2/2020

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Blessed Pentecost greetings!

The death of Mr. George Floyd has brought to light the ongoing tensions in our life together as a nation. He was not heard in his final moments as his life was taken. 

This death sparked peaceful and violent protests across the country. Businesses are being boarded up and curfews have been imposed. Fires have been set and property destroyed. 

Why does this matter? It matters because it represents a group of people who believe they are not heard. It matters because we live in a country that is built on the truth that all people are created equal, but some do not have access to that truth. It matters because we believe that all people have a right to life and to be treated with respect. It matters because voices, whether we agree with them or not, have a right to be heard. It matters because if we are to really mean it when we say all lives matter, then we must be willing to say black lives do matter. 

This is an event that affects each one of our pastors, church workers, and members of our congregations. We are a very diverse group of people. We represent many races, cultures, political ideologies and walks of life. Yet amid all these differences we all experience the love of Christ. When Christ dies for sin, he dies for the sin of each and every one of us. Christ comes that we might have life and have it to the full. 

This death is so striking because this is not the way we treat people. A person should not die in the street with those who could help did not. It offends our sense of human dignity and what is right. 

This death has once again exposed a bitter divide in the way we view each other. It shows that we do not look at situations in the same way. We do not hear or listen to one another. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in one of his speeches spoke against riots and also said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

We must do better job as a country to listen to each other. We must provide a forum for people who feel they are not heard. These feelings must be able to be shared openly and honestly. Since we fail at communicating this reality does not change and we come back to situations like this over and over again. 

The Bible teaches us, “Love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you.” This means that we are to walk in this life together. This means that we listen to one another. This means that we tackle the problems of this world together. This means that we seek to share the love of Jesus with each other.

This means that we stand together as the church. “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.” (Revelation 7:9, ESV) We stand together as we face inequality and injustice. We stand together as we face issues regarding life. We stand together as we address systemic racism. We stand together as one church. 

What can we do together?

  1. Pray – I am asking for all of the members of the Atlantic District to take 5 mins each day at noon to pray for our nation, justice, overcoming racial inequity, protestors and police. Prayer is a powerful tool in which God hears us. He is the one we need at this time. Obviously if noon does not work, take another time. The point being that we are lifting our voices to God as the church, daily. The Atlantic District will be supplying some resources via the website, AD-LCMS.org 
  2. Take Care – Our words matter. How we talk about issues does matter. We are charged with the love of Christ. We need to recognize the thoughts and feelings surrounding the many issues that assail us and take care in how we speak of them. We want to make sure we are listening to others and what they are experiencing that they might be heard. How can we show love? 
  3. Take Action – We must work for reform through the means that are offered to us in this nation. This can take many and various forms, whether it be legislative reform or simply conversations with neighbors. We must take action together. 

The Atlantic District condemns racism and injustice in whatever form it takes, personal, institutional, or systemic, because our mission is “Engaging the world with the Gospel of Hope.”

Rev. Derek G. Lecakes
President/Bishop of the Atlantic District

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