Before beginning, I want to make clear that I am not doing this to favor any political agenda. What is happening in the United States is about expression of pain, mixed in with acts of violence and destruction. This is not about us versus them. Any time I mention he word, justice or act justly is not that I am being one of those social justice warriors. Justice is about doing things right and acting and behaving with dignity. Justice is what law enforcements are trying to maintain and justice is what people are asking, and in the midst of the protests both sides are naturally looking for the same thing. Mixed in al of this are people who are hellbent on destruction. There will be misfits on both sides of protesters and law enforcements, that is what we have seen during these times. Power must be taken away from these miscreants. Ok, I just wanted to throw that disclaimer before I begin this.
I haven’t spoken about it, nor did I include any of it during the Pentecost service. During the moment of silence I didn’t offer any prayers for people who are protesting, or to the law enforcement, or even for stores that find themselves burned down, or even other buildings like police stations, capital building that have been burned down or looted.
I didn’t say anything because I have to be careful how I use this church pulpit. And I’m tired of the same incidents happening time and time again in the USA. Also this stuff always stresses me out and dealing with the up and down emotions I was going through during the week. Yet, last week for the virtual service, for some unknown reason, I was compelled to use the campfire scene. But I felt God wanted me to use that image. And I realize that image is all about how the Spirit of God shines even in the darkest of times. God is still here with us.
I am extremely exhausted right now. Last week and even today I have been gathering up a ton of stories for all over the country about racism, people in law enforcement, shop owners, and protester. At the same time suddenly, I must make sense of my past experiences of racial injustice, stereotyping, race related violence, and police misconduct. Those things I mentioned is a reality for all minorities. But, I don’t want to talk about my experiences, because those are mine, and those are what I must battle with day in and day out. But it is important to talk about what is going on right now in this country and where is God in all of this?
We have reached a boiling point in our country. The Coronavirus pandemic, to the massive unemployment rate, to Ahmaud Arbery’s murder in Georgia from two white men, to A Black Birdwatcher in Central Park having the police called on him by a white woman, to the tipping point of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota a Black man, being choked to death by a white police officer. Now everything has exploded. That frustration level, of years of racial intolerance, police brutality on minority communities, and the chaos caused by the coronavirus, and unemployment, just broke. Suddenly, we are wondering where is God in all of this?
Where is God? Well just like Pentecost has taught us, the light of Christ is still with us, the fire that is given by the Holy Spirit is with us and is opposite of the fire’s that are caused by unlawful rioters and looters. We worship a God who detests violence and destruction. A God who stands side by side lawful police officers, and lawful protesters. A God who is against police brutality and rioters or looters.
We have been learning about John for the past few weeks. Don’t forget Jesus has told us that we will not be orphaned and that the Holy Spirit is given to us, the Advocate. Also, in John Jesus has prayer on our behalf, knowing that we are still in this world and being part of this world, we need to continue to mission of Jesus Christ to all people. And in the book of Acts, Pentecost has taught us how the light of the Holy Spirit is upon us, even during the most dreadful and darkest night. Never give up hope.
What can we do during this time? We do what we should have been doing even before all this tension occurred. Look no further than Micah 6:8. My favorite Bible verse because it is simple, direct, and it is a reminder of what God has told us to do and is telling us to do right now. “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Do those three things, especially during these times.
Act justly, everyone has the right to life. Doesn’t matter whether you are black, white, or Asian, whether you are in law enforcement or a protester. Nobody needs to go through what minorities go through day in and day out in the USA or in the world. George Floyd did not have to die in Minnesota. Act justly is about giving all people a fair chance at living and pursuing the American dream, and nobody should do anything that infringes on the right to live and the right to live well. Justice is not about advocating violence and destruction, justice is not death, justice is not about getting mine and forget about the other, it is not about us versus them.
Love mercy, is about having compassion towards one another. Protesters and police officers is not about us versus them, because in the end of the day everyone is human, they all have a family to go to at the end of the day. Listen to people’s story, respect their right to live. Give what you can and be generous. No need to hoard all the toilet papers and meats for one’s own gain. Nor need to harm other people and restrict other people to protect yourself.
Walk humbly with God is about doing justice and loving mercy. It is not about looting, destroying, or killing people in handcuffs. It is not about destruction. Walking with God is helping God, about continuing the mission of Jesus Christ to all people. Imagine what our world will be if we just did these things. We have to help God in these circumstances. God is holding the world in His hands, but the world is crumbling, our social responsibilities are being broken, and the foundations of this world are turning into sand. God is holding the world in His hands, but its really hard to hold a world that is crumbling and turning into sand, slipping through God’s hands. We can help God. By acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly, we put our hands in between God’s fingers and catch the crumbling world. It is our Christian responsibility to do such acts of mercy, be act justly, and be humble. Be safe out there, respect all people regardless of occupation or skin color. It’s time to rebuild the foundations of social responsibility that are crumbling before our own eyes.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).