On behalf of the pastoral staff at Epikos Church...
"We would like to extend our thoughts and prayers out to the family and friends during this difficult time”. This phrase has become an all too familiar response to the tragic news that seems to inundate the news and our social media. The offering of thoughts and prayers is for some an acknowledgment of another tragedy that has added to the collective trauma in an already weary community, while for others the refrain of thoughts and prayers dissipates into empty words such as a clanging cymbal.
We have found ourselves once again facing the news of yet another tragic story that has been captured on video, images that have compounded our collective grief and trauma in which many have not had time to recover from the previous events.
Jacob Blake is the latest name that will be used as a rallying cry, and Kenosha, Wisconsin is the latest community that has been shaken to its core by tragedy. All of the circumstances that led up to Jacob Blake being shot in the back 7 times are unclear and are continuing to unfold, but the images chronicled on video of what transpired are painful, brutal, and beyond unsettling.
So how are we to respond? What, if any impact does our thoughts and prayers have in times like these?
Our prayers as believers aren’t empty words that are proclaimed into empty space, our prayers and petitions are heard by God. It is during these conversations and petitions that we not only lift up these concerns, but we must open our hearts to what God is saying to us in return. Our prayers should cry out for mercy, but we should seek wisdom on how to show mercy. Our thoughts should be focused on praying for peace, yet we should seek God’s will in being peacemakers. Simply put, our thoughts and prayers must manifest into action. Living out our faith not only in words but with actions. Being Salt and Light.
It is our hope that we as a church, and as the Body of Christ will seek the Lord in the midst of calamity. It is our prayer that we don’t retreat into divisive tribalism and name-calling, there’s already so much that divides us. May we acknowledge each other’s humanity and love our neighbor as ourselves. Most importantly, let us turn to God, the source of our healing and restoration.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eye will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer made in this place” — 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
May these thoughts and prayers encourage us all to seek His will for our lives.
Check out these resources that were compiled as part of our recent sermon series, Race. Justice. Gospel.
- A Class on Race, Racism, and The Bible taught by Pastor Anthony Caples
- God's Design for Ethnicity - A class taught by Pastor Ronaldo Ghenov
- Additional resources can be found at justice.epikos.org