Listening over the last several weeks to the different voices in our communities and across our nation, I have heard many expressions of fear and pain. Recent grand jury decisions highlight the fear and pain of many of our African-American brothers and sisters concerning the criminal justice system. Likewise, there is fear and pain in the Anglo community. And there is fear among families who have members serving as police. Fear seems to be the dominant emotion.
The scriptures teach us that “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) I believe that with God’s power, we can cast out the fears we are experiencing. Our witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus uniquely qualifies us to make this world a better place. May we be and act as the people of the Christ who seek to be ones who love in a way that begins to cast out fear.
Some clergy in the North Texas Conference have begun working with community leaders to seek ways in which the fear of many can be cast out. That work is challenging, but together we can build trust among all God’s children. Together, we can address the high rates of incarceration in communities of color. Together, we can create communities where fear no longer dominates how people live or how we see each other, no matter the color of their skin.
The coming of a Savior 2,000 years ago was God’s declaration that all lives matter. I pray that the Methodist people celebrate God’s gift of a Savior by living and working for that truth. May we see as God sees: each person as a beloved child of God.
May you continue to live as people who live and work in the name of Christ so that fear may be cast out.
A version of this statement was issued on December 18, 2014, and has been modified slightly and included in the February issue of The NTC Connection.