Reconciliation and Repentance

I went to bed last night with the terrible news of yet another young black man being shot and killed by police. What made this worse was that this was basically from the neighborhood I called home for five years in Minnesota. In the following, I am sharing a post from Bishop Patricia Lull, Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Following her post originally shared on Facebook, I offer my own thoughts this morning. I know I feel called to write more, but at this moment, this is what is on my heart and mind.
Saint Paul Area Synod, ELCA's photo.

Saint Paul Area Synod, ELCA

A young black man, Philando Castile, has died in our community after being shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. His family grieves, friends are outraged, co-workers are stunned and news of the deaths of black men that we too often hear about in other communities has become our local news. Whether you are joining the Black Lives Matter movement in a public vigil, explaining this news to your children, or coming to terms with the fact that such violent deaths happen in our cities, we all have work to do to build a community of justice and safety for all, especially persons of color. I invite prayers in our congregations this Sunday – prayers for Philando Castile, for his family and friends, for the officers involved, and for the work of repentance and reconciliation that is needed in our country. ~ Bishop Patricia Lull

All morning I have wanted to write. This was basically my neighborhood for five years. I have written blog posts and sermons explaining why we must proclaim that Black Lives Matter. There is much work to be done for reconciliation and repentance. I grieve for Philando Castile’s family and friends.

I am also mad and sick to my stomach this morning, because I know that if I was pulled over, and I reached for my driver’s license and registration I would not have had a gun pointed at me (let alone fired).

We are called in our baptisms to name and respond to injustice, working for justice and peace in all the world. We are called as congregations to be a place of truth telling, of sharing the Good News with a hurting world, but also actively engaging the news and challenges of the world and not ignoring them in preaching, teaching, prayer, service, and presence.

For those congregations following the Revised Common Lectionary, this week’s gospel lesson is that of the Good Samaritan. What might Jesus say through this parable about the need and importance of reconciliation, repentance, and community?

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