Today’s lesson is an Address by Archbishop Foley Beach, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and Chairman of the global Anglican Communion’s GAFCON, to the ACNA’s Provincial Council. In his address, Dr. Beach provides both a context and call to action for Clergy and lay persons to become a part of the solution for the “race issues” facing us today:
“The past few months have not only been pandemic, but pandemonium. We have watched evil displayed by fellow image bearers and some police officers in recent weeks. We have heard cries of grief in our own neighborhoods and from all around the world. And the cries have gotten louder. We watched as peaceful protests were hijacked by chaos and violence, destroying countless businesses and property, and injuring not only bystanders . . . In the US we have struggled to overcome the effects of the systemic racism from our founding days, and we know that changing laws would never be enough. Victories for civil rights, and for the desegregation of our schools would never be enough. For you see we don’t have just a skin problem, we have a sin problem. As Dr. Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas Texas recently said, ‘The evangelical church needs to speak up where it has been silent on injustice and racism. The biggest problem in the culture today is the failure of the church. We wouldn’t even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not consistently failed to deal with racism as the severe sin it is. But because the church has historically ignored and downplayed it, the issue still exists. Where the church is called to set an example, we have cowered.’. . . The Bible makes it unequivocally clear that we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27): ‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’. We each bear the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Any hostility between brothers and sisters in Christ, especially because of skin color, is an affront to God and damages our souls and the ‘blessed community’ so many of us seek . . .
We need God to rend our hearts as a Church. We need the people of Anglican Church in North America to display the kind of tenderness and compassion that is needed in this time. We need listening ears. We need thoughtfulness. We need preaching. We need humility. We need grace. We need to aim for the Anglican Church in North America to look like ‘thy kingdom on earth as it is in heaven’. . .
We need to search our hearts and make sure there is no offensive way in us as the Anglican Church in North America. All the words about spiritual renewal and revival in the Bible are not directed to the non-Christian culture, but to the people of God. We need to look within ourselves. And it starts with me. What the Lord has shown me about me in the past few weeks is this – I have failed to understand the incredible burden and pain that many of my black brothers and sisters live with every day. I have not wept with those who weep. And I have not understood the depth of the effect of racism and injustice. I have not understood the burden of living under racist acts, slurs, and systems they have to endure every day, nor have I understood the fear with which they constantly live for themselves and their families. It is not enough not to be a racist; we must not be blind to the sin of racism and ignore it in our midst. . . I find myself listening a lot these days. I find myself sad a lot. I find myself angry. I find myself yearning to see ‘all the sad things come untrue.’ And yet I know that none of this is a surprise to our Lord, and He can be trusted . . . ‘Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.’.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am in no way endorsing those movements that are promoting anarchy, destruction of the family, and the dismantling of our government. Our form of government has brought more freedom, justice, and liberation than ANY other kind of government . . . It will not be through political parties, rallies, slogans, or marches that our attitudes and practices are changed, that the souls of our nations are converted. They may have some impact, but the deep change we all need will be through revival that comes from repentance – turning away from our sin and toward God and his righteous ways in Jesus Christ.
You can start right where you are. In your own heart, in your own relationship with God - first. Then, in your own community -- One person at a time. One relationship at a time. One act a time. Reaching out and building a relationship with someone different than you are. One drop of rain may not seem like much, but with other drops of rain it can create a healing flood. . .
So, let us pray for one another about these things, and let us get out and make a difference in our local communities. God has placed you and me here for such a time as this . . .
The Lord bless you and keep you, make his face shine upon you and grant you his peace. In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FORGIVEN. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Genesis 1:27; Revelation 7:1-17; Ephesians 2:19; John.13:35; Galatians 6:2; Romans 12:15; Psalms 103:12; Isiah 1:18.
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WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO – “Dr. Beach Provides a Context and Call to Action for Clergy and Lay Persons to Become Part of the Solution for “Race Issues” Facing Us Today”: www.AWFTL.org/watch
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