The protests regarding racial injustice in the US invite us to live and feel and grapple with realities in our own community. Here are two suggestions:
As a first step, give some time to do a bit of learning. MCC offers many helpful resources. Here’s a good place to start: https://mcc.org/stories/ending-racism. Another helpful resource is a series of teachings on racism offered by Cedar Park MB Church in Ladner, BC. You can find those here: https://cedarparkchurch.org/sermons/unravelling-racism/.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, pray. Acknowledge the pain and suffering that exists; the psalms are especially helpful in offering up our laments. And in addition to praying for people and events in the US, pray for our indigenous neighbours in Canada, as well as our Asian brothers and sisters in the Lower Mainland. Dave Chow, who is the pastor of Killarney Park MB Church and has spoken at Highland, sent out this note this week:
At one of our last ZOOM meetings, some of us at church admitted having had racist things yelled at us, or insinuated at us (the most subtle are “mean looks”, the most blunt were words people chose to say or yell at us, like “Go back to where you came from!”). Some of us have Asian ethnic backgrounds—Korean, Japanese, Philippine, Vietnamese—but some of us of Chinese ethnic extraction were born in Canada.
In these past few weeks during this COVID19 pandemic, when we hear an audible taunt, when we see a furtive look, or are a victim of an accusation—“You’re responsible for COVID19!”—it hurts. Now, we are not facing the same severity of the victims of the terrible "Black Lives Matter" killings, nor the residential school horrors faced by our First Nations friends (and who continue to experience systemic racism here in Canada). But our history – not just in Canada, but in Vancouver, in particular—is marred with anti-asian racist policy and anti-Chinese racism-fuelled riots.
Let the COVID19 period be a moment in time when the church is seen and heard as people who love generously, and who stand courageously with victims of racism.
In 1539 Menno Simons offered these words: “True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant, but spreads itself out in all kinds of righteousness and fruits of love…it clothes the naked; it feeds the hungry; it comforts the sorrowful; it shelters the destitute; it aids and consoles the sad; it does good to those who do it harm; it prays for those who persecute it; it teaches, admonishes and resources us with the Word of the Lord; it seeks those who are lost; it binds up what is wounded; it heals the sick; it saves what is sound; it becomes all things to all people. The persecution, suffering and anguish that come to it for the sake of the Lord’s truth have become a glorious joy and comfort to it.”
As we seek to be peacemakers in the days to come, let’s trust that the Spirit will illuminate the ways in which we might make these words our own.