Responding to Charlottesville

For any of you who may not know, a so called “white nationalist” rally, consisting of over 5,000 members of various white supremacist groups such as skinheads, neo-nazis, and the ku-klux klan, took place on the campus of the University of Virginia Friday night and Saturday during the day to protest the removal of a confederate statue at the University of Virginia.

As they marched through the campus bearing torches and chanting things like “you will not replace us,” counterprotests began, and various physical altercations ensued, but none were more notable than when a man drove a Dodge Challenger at full speed into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving 1 dead and injuring an additional 19 people.

Every human being has an inherent worth and dignity, not one that they must earn, not one that any other human being has the authority to give, or to take away.

The God we gather to worship is a holy God, who created every human being, all the families of the earth, every tribe, tongue and nation, every tone of skin, in his image. That means every human being has an inherent worth and dignity, not one that they must earn, not one that any other human being has the authority to give, or to take away.

The group that started these protests espouse an ideology of white supremacy, an ideology that runs in total contradiction to the God I’ve just described. The idea that a certain race defined by lighter skin tone has an inherent supremacy over any other race, is not only in grave error, it and those who hold it are in rebellion against God, the creator and ruler of all the earth. It is a particularly heinous manifestation of a rebellion we’ve all participated in, a rebellion so serious that only the death of the Son of God on the cross could redeem us from it.

If you are here today and you know this Son of God, Jesus Christ, then that’s what has happened to you. You’ve been called out and made part of his redeemed people, who exist now to show the world through our lips and lives what the kingdom He came to establish is like, which means in the face of such evil, evil that runs so counter to the values of Jesus’ kingdom, we cannot be silent. We must love what God loves and hate what God hates. God hates racism, God hates pride, and God hates this white nationalist movement in which the two come together.

May we, his people, hate it. May we lament its presence in our country, may we lament its presence in our hearts, wherever the stain of sin would still tempt any of us to exalt ourselves over another human. And may we fight it. May we take up our cross, put to death what evil remains in our own hearts and churches by the power of the Spirit, and cry out for justice in our world. May we use the resources we have to cry out for the oppressed and to oppose their oppressors. Not adding to the evil with vengeance, but fighting in the way of our Lord and Savior, who overcame his enemies with sacrificial love, not a weak passivity, but an active engagement with the forces of darkness.

May we take up our cross, put to death what evil remains in our own hearts and churches by the power of the Spirit, and cry out for justice in our world.

And as we do so, as we take up our cross and engage in the struggle, we do not do so as those without hope. Christ has reconciled His people to God and to one another, He removes hearts of stone and gives hearts of flesh, and as His word goes forth, as we turn to him in repentance and faith, real change is possible…and a day is coming when Jesus will return to deal the final blow to sin, where sin will be judged, and where all the oppressed who take refuge in Him will be free, free from fear, free to join in the song of worship to Jesus Christ, a song to be sung by people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.