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Neither Helpless Nor Hopeless

Summary: Pastor Bryan shares some thoughts on this week's tragic events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas.

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I’m just back from 8 days in China, and still catching up on the tragic events of this past week in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas. As grateful as I am for this great nation in which we live, I am grieved that we continue to struggle with racial injustice and wanton violence. We will be setting aside time for reflection and prayer in our services this Sunday. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the thoughts offered up this week by members of our pastoral team, attached below.

I joined a conference call this morning with leading pastors from Dallas and other cities that have suffered violent deaths in recent months. Several of them lamented the hopelessness that the black community is feeling and the helplessness that the white community is experiencing. As real as those emotions are, and I have felt both of them again this morning, we must remind ourselves that as people of God we are neither hopeless nor helpless.

Our hope and help is in Christ, who has shown us a better way, and who is at work in the world today to advance a Kingdom marked by peace, justice, and oneness of all people. The apostle Paul reminds us that

“His purpose was to create one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”  - Ephesians 2:15-16

While Paul was speaking of the division between Jews and Gentiles, Christ’s purpose surely applies to every division that exists among human beings, all of whom are made in God’s image. As one pastor on the call put it today, “the role of the church is more profound than ever before” in showing our nation and the world a better way.

Here at Grace Chapel there is much we can do and are doing, as we intentionally pursue multicultural community, provide safe spaces to discuss these issues, address systemic needs and injustices in our city, and proclaim in word and deed God’s grander vision for humankind.

May He grant grace and courage to those who seek this vision, and may He grant comfort and healing to those who are grieving these days.

Read Pastor Ruthie's post, Come Quickly Lord Jesus

A Father's Thoughts on This Fathers' Day

Summary: A father and pastor speaks of both joy and deep sorrow on this Father’s Day after the tragedy of Orlando.

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June 19, 2016. At the close of a full Father’s Day I am feeling very blessed, but as the silence and darkness of night settles in, I find myself in deep sorrow for forty-nine fathers who have lost one reason to celebrate this day. I grieve your loss at the hands of an individual intent on horrific evil one week ago in Orlando.

I grieve too, for other victims in the LGBT community I have known over the last four-and-a-half decades. Friends who died of AIDS. Friends who ended their own lives. Friends who felt every isolating comment and hurtful exclusion, intentional hate, or unintended poor choice of words or actions.

I also grieve for those I have known or just met in passing, young and old, who are dead; not physically, but by the declaration of their own fathers or family. I pray that on this day, fathers would reconcile, accept, and love their LGBT sons and daughters - before some accident, or grief too big to carry, or stranger intent on evil, snatches that opportunity away forever.

I wish that I could give "free Dad hugs" to all who need that embrace, but that is a poor substitute, an insufficient balm. I could not conceive of turning away from any of my children, or the friends who have trusted me to share part of their journey and story... cross-generational, cross-cultural, within both LGBT and non-LGBT communities.

I am sorry for those times when my words and actions have failed you.

I thank you for your willingness to stay engaged in the conversation.

I have had a blessed day, and will not guilt myself out of the pleasure of that knowledge. I am joyful and hopeful for my tomorrows but I will not shield myself from shared sorrows and the deep pain of loss this day now holds for many. I am praying for each of you and all of you while I have an opportunity, as the silence and darkness of night settle in. I am praying for the light. I grieve, but not as one without hope. 

Posted by Tom Herrmann with