Baltimore is one of dozens of cities that is desperate and dying for hope. Undoubtedly there are systemic issues of injustice that have been ongoing and gaining momentum for years – decades! This weekend the issues exploded with frustration and anger following the unfortunate death of Freddie Gray. MLK Jr. said “riots are the language of the unheard”. After last night, America is listening; hopefully. People are looking for voices and a vision of change. Now is time for the church to step up, speak up, and shine the light of peace, hope, and love that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Supremely, it is a time for churches to break down walls of ethnicity and denominationally to stand as one voice. What will this look like and how will it take root? The answers are yet to be determined. Solutions will not be easy or quick. And yes, answers go beyond people entering the doors of the church. This is a moment where we are seeing the church entering the streets and the marketplace. The gospel of Jesus does not belong closed solely behind stained glass but rightly proclaimed will be among neighborhoods and nations, cities and countries for all to experience the transforming message of peace and reconciliation with God and humanity.
SPBC, this is why we have tangible partners in Baltimore with Open Door Baltimore Community Development, Jesus Our Redeemer Church, and The Well, not to mention many additional friends in and beyond our denominational networks and relationships. Baltimore is too close to sit back in our suburb as if what is happening does not impact us. We must continue standing in the gap to pray for God’s protection over the city, for peace to overwhelm violence and for hope to shine brightly. Please continue praying for our partners and friends to have God’s wisdom in decision-making, discernment in how to help and love their neighborhoods and church families, and for God’s provision of strength and resources to minister “for such a time as this”. This is a kairos momemnt – a unique and divine opportunity God is preparing for His harvest. Let us listen, look, and pray for how we can join God in His work.
Beyond regular media, here are a variety of just a few links for news of hope and insight into what is happening in Baltimore.