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The Word on the Week

Riots and Race

Race and Riots                       Word on the Week                          30th May 2020.

On Monday this week in Minneapolis the Police arrested George Floyd.     He died by suffocation when handcuffed he lay on the ground with a policeman’s knee on his neck.    This position lasted for some 5 minutes while three other policemen stood around.     We are not told what his crime was.

The incident would have gone largely unnoticed were it not for a bystander capturing the action on his camera.     Two factors to note; George was of African-American stock and there appeared to be an absence of mercy by the policemen.

The detained man can he heard groaning on the video, and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”, before he stops speaking.      His last words have been taken up by the rioters as their slogan as they wreaked havoc on the city over the last few nights. 

When there is the perception that justice is lacking it becomes difficult to do anything meaningful without being accused of bias.    In this case George was a black man and the policeman was white.   George had no power and the policeman was powerful.    It is only in God’s sight that they are equal “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.   Male and female he created them and he blessed them” (Genesis Chapter 5 verses 1 – 2).

 The French philosopher named Muretus 1526-1585 was well educated but also very poor. He became sick, and was taken to the place where the destitute were kept. The people who cared for him did not know that he was a scholar and that he understood the scholar’s Latin. One day the doctors were discussing his case in Latin and they were saying that he was a poor creature of value to no one and that it was hopeless and unnecessary to expend care and money on attention to such a worthless human. Muretus looked up from his bed of rags and answered in their own Latin, “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.”

Every human is made in the image of God and however marred the image may be it is never obliterated.   In fact, it there is always the potential of redemption and a re-imaging for the person who comes to faith in Christ.    In Christ there is no such thing as an excluded race.    God’s mercy knows no limit (Titus Chapter 3 verses 1-8).

Some years ago we had Alfred, Maria and family from Serra Leone worshipping with us.   They were musical and one of the songs they composed had the powerful lines that Christians should be colour-blind.   By God’s grace this has become second nature to us and may point to a remedy for churches to adopt instead of permitting segregated worship.  

May the cross of Christ make us all colour-blind (Galatians Chapter 3 verses 26 – 29).