'in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul’ Acts 13:1
The killing of George Floyd has unleashed a huge wave of feeling in our country as well as in the US. I feel uncomfortable; as a white woman who grew up in London I have experienced very little of the injustice that is a way of life for others. I feel scared when I see violent clashes and worried about the spread of coronavirus through large demonstrations. I’m not sure what to say or to do. But it is important for us as Christians not to dismiss what’s happening as an American problem or just young people letting off steam after being locked down for many weeks.
The Bible is quite clear – we are all equal under God. Over the centuries powerful men and women, and unjust political systems in many different societies have made a mockery of this, and others have colluded through fear, indifference or hostility. This continues today.
The Anglican bishops in North America issued a letter writing ‘George Floyd was made in the image of God and as such is a person of utmost value. What happened to George is an affront to God because George’s status as an image bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity.‘
Jesus demonstrated by word and action how to treat others; he showed respect to both those who were Jews like himself and those from other cultures like the Samaritan woman at the well and the Roman centurion whose servant was ill. This acceptance spilled over to the early church where we read of a mix of cultures; African, Roman, former Pharisees, all worshipping together. Thankfully ethnic diversity continues to be a hallmark of the Spirit’s work in many of our churches today.
As Christians we have all ‘sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Roman 3:23) but knowing the forgiveness of Jesus in our life we can go forward - acknowledging God’s image in everyone, examining our own prejudices and in praying and finding ways of working for justice and reconciliation in our world.
Prayer (from the Anglican Church of North America)
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Prayer Request: For positive change to come as a result of demonstrations; for policy makers and law enforcers to use their power and influence with wisdom and integrity.