Heartbreak and Hope

I have decided to post an e-mail I sent to our church family last night. Below I have added some links to helpful articles from others.

Redeemer Family,

I am extremely burdened tonight. I have contemplated a blog post but to be honest, I don’t know that I can due to grief. I will share a few brief thoughts.

This week began in celebration with July 4th. However, a week that began in celebration is ending in mourning. As the fireworks concluded and the barbeques cooled there was outcry over the FBI report regarding a presidential candidate, followed by two police shootings, and tonight the shooting of police officers.

First, we should mourn. As Christians, we rightly say we are pro-life, and we should consistently be pro-life. We should mourn the loss of all life, each one an image bearer of our Father God. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” -Matt. 5:4

Second, we should pray. We should pray for those who are mourning and grieving to a greater degree because they are closer to these situations than we are. Also, we should pray for our Nation.  I agree completely with Russell Moore when he says: “The crises facing us now, with the shootings and the root issues, come at a perilous time, in a hyper-polarized and socially fracturing USA.”  I have been concerned for some time about how divided we are as a people. The absence of civility and empathy in our Country is alarming. We should pray for “His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).  I was at an event this week where we said our Country’s pledge of allegiance. I was freshly struck by the final words “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” We should pray for unity in our nation…even what some have labeled “modest unity” would be a massive stride in a healthy direction. We also should pray for justice for all. Each of the incidents above have been met with cries for justice. Our Lord cares greatly about justice and will one day bring full and final justice. In the meantime, we should pray for and strive for “justice for all.” We should pray for the witness of the church during this time. Which leads me to my third and final thought.

Third, as the church we have a weighty responsibility to witness to Christ in all times, but especially during times like this. Let me point out two comments made in the past few days that highlight our responsibility. Ray Ortlund said: “As the ideals of America are being betrayed by both left and right, the Christian counterculture can and must display beauty, humanity.” That’s right, the witness of the church, sinners reconciled to God and one another through Christ, is the beauty the watching world needs to see. May they see that love and humility in us (this is what we have been talking about from Phil. 2:1-11). Albert Mohler wrote: “Our nation is threatening to tear itself apart. Our political leaders seem unable to help. Can America’s Christian leaders do any better?” Brothers and Sisters, we need to hold up the gospel light of Christ (the King of kings who died for His enemies so that God could be both just and justifier in saving us). We need to engage in HELPFUL conversation with our neighbors. They don’t need partisan party line soundbites, they get plenty of that from Fox News, CNN, and social media. They need wise, biblically-informed, well thought-out responses to what’s happening. They need words that contain the healing balm of the gospel beaming with light and seasoned with salt. We need to stand in the gaps and be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). No, everyone does not like a peacemaker and being one requires sacrifice (Christ died to make peace between us and God).

I love you all and I am praying for you as testify to Christ. Fear not, the gospel is big enough and Christ is mighty…He saved you.

(Please forgive any typos)

Matt

Helpful posts for your consideration:

How to Pray in Our Time of National Crisis by Joe Carter

What Shootings and Racial Justice Mean for the Body of Christ by Russell Moore

How to Pray for the Police by Joe Carter

Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement? by Mika Edmondson

Ugly Stain, Beautiful Hope: My Response to Mika Edmondson by Albert Mohler

About Pastor Matt

Matt Baker is the Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church.
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