Like me, you were no doubt shocked and sickened by the events in Charlottesville this past weekend. We know that we live in a world filled with sin and hate, but in the last few days this fact has been placed vividly in front of us. For the majority of the individuals who read this note, we live a lifestyle that insulates us from the worst aspects of this evil reality. However, times like these shock us to attention and provide an important reminder that we can not sit idle while, as 1 Peter 5:8 states, “your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Earlier today, I read a post from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia. While many have shared condemnation over the events in Charlottesville, Archbishop Chaput’s words resonate. After sharing that “Racism is a poison of the soul” and calling for prayers for those injured in the violence from the weekend, Chaput shares:
But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally exposed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country. We need to keep the images of Charlottesville alive in our memories. If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversation in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others. That may sound simple. But the history of our nation and its tortured attitudes toward race proves exactly the opposite.
As a school community dedicated to Christ and with a mission to train up young people “to impact their world for Christ”, we have a profound opportunity and responsibility to change this narrative moving forward on behalf of our children, and their children. As a community, we must be willing to look introspectively at our practices to make sure that we celebrate the unity found in and through Christ, to have the “conversation in our own hearts” referenced by Chaput. Are we modeling a better way for our children? We, the adults in the community, must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. We must also stand up for those who are suffering and oppressed. If we want our culture at large to change, we need to make sure that we are equipping our children with the ability to empathize, understand, and reflect the love of Christ to everyone.
In closing, I want to share a passage from Eric Metaxas’s book 7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness. I highly recommend this book, a collection of biographies of seven Christian men who impacted the world for Christ. In a paragraph about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas writes:
Bonhoeffer was perhaps the first of his countrymen to see that Christians were obliged to speak out for those who could not, to “be a voice for the voiceless.” In the case of Nazi Germany, that meant the Jews. At one point Bonhoeffer made the incendiary statement that “only he who stands up for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants.” What he meant was that if we were not heroically and courageously doing what God wanted us to do, God was not interested in our public displays of worship. To sing to God when we were not doing what God called us to do was to be a hypocrite. Many were offended at Bonhoeffer’s outspokenness on these issues. But he insisted that Jesus was the “man for others,” and to follow Jesus meant to stand up for the dignity of those who were different than us.
Blessings to you and yours,
GRACE Christian School is a loving community that spiritually and academically equips, challenges, and inspires students to impact their world for Christ.