Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It seems that we in North America so readily give acknowledgment in the mainstream press to tragedy, racism, religious profiling and persecution elsewhere…

But rarely here amongst us…

Never here…

Never in our midst.

Well, the grievous attacks on three churches in Louisiana might finally put aside this semi-willful lack of awareness. These churches (St. Mary Baptist, Greater Union Baptist, and Mount Pleasant Baptist) were attacked between 26 March and 4 April of this year. The significance of the three burnings in the mind of many were that they occurred in a brief period of time. It is well known that these attacks, torchings, have not been infrequent.

We must pray for those congregations, but more important, our vigilance must be the kind of awareness that bears the mark of “holy restlessness” that we would not only ponder these things, but be challenged to resist, decry, confront, and seek to eliminate the kinds of attitudes that perpetuate this kind of abomination, an abomination before God and each other.

There is a framework for this ongoing conversation, which is found in many places, but particularity this week I am struck by it’s presence, in Deuteronomy 6: 7-9.

“Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

For however we remember, recall, pray and re-covenant in our resistance to the burnings in Louisiana, however we walk out the Deuteronomy passage, let us not let go of a holy restlessness until in these wonderful countries of the USA and Canada, these overt and subverted acts of violence and discrimination are gone from our lands.

Might we pray and speak and act into this new opportunity of glorifying our common Lord as we support one another.

In the name of Christ,

Jeremy Bell

General Secretary

NABF

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