A Note from Pastor Andy

By Andy McQuitty
In Faith & Belief
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My Beloved IBC Family,

Alice and I got back to the home where we’re staying in California Thursday evening and watched in horror as the shootings occurred in downtown Dallas.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that the darkness of racial conflict with police that erupted last summer in Ferguson, roared through Baltimore and Chicago (among many others), had now come to settle on our city.

With yours, I know, our hearts just sank and we have been grieving this travesty of violence in our own back yard ever since. These words of lament written by Steve Haines and Aaron Freer, (based on Psalm 82 and Deuteronomy 30:9-14) powerfully portray our feelings:

Oh God

Oh God

Oh God

For Philando Castile, for Alton Sterling, we weep. For the five Dallas police officers, we weep.

For the people who are angry, for those who hopelessly take out their anger on others, we weep.

For the lives lost that never make the headlines, we weep. We pause for these injustices against life, against your children. Be with all those who carry the pain of violence, and God let us summon the courage to ask you to be with all those who carry violence.

As painful and dark as this time of racial chaos in our country is, we Christ-followers can also view it as prime time to let the light of the Gospel shine. The Church is the hope of the world not because of the people we are, but, because of the message we bear. That message is God’s declaration of love and forgiveness and grace through Christ that, when received with faith and repentance, transforms hatred into love, racism into unity, and conflict into peace.

Oh, the government will most certainly do its part. The FBI will investigate and law enforcement will prosecute and lawmakers will “fix” (read, “manage”) the problem. But healing, what our country most desperately needs, will only come through the Church. As my friend Celestin Musekura (the founder of ALARM) so wisely wrote this week:

Praying for the families and communities of innocent police and civilians who are victims of bigotry, hatred, anger, resentment, revenge, and senselessness. Vengeance over historical hatred can only be dealt by genuine national repentance and mutual communal forgiveness by all sides of the issues because we (all citizens of this great nation of America) are both victims and perpetrators. No one is innocent including those of us who are late comers! Our national leaders, guided by our faith leaders must lead us in a national day or week of mourning and repenting of historical injustice and hatred, and MUST genuinely and intentionally lead us in the pursuit of genuine forgiveness. The men and women of God who have experienced forgiveness must embody forgiveness and reconciliation in such a time as this. We are not judges! We are peacemakers! We are not avengers, we are agents of peace and reconciliation.

Please know that your IBC Leadership is in touch with other Christian organizations and churches and police departments with a heart to be involved in healing initiatives in our city going forward. We want to join hands with people all across our state and nation in bringing an end to this violence! But that’s not all. . .

As IBC’s Senior Pastor, I am calling on our entire church family in these days to let the Gospel light of grace, forgiveness, and love—especially across the racial divide--to shine brightly inside our church! Jesus said that the world would believe in him when they see his people’s love for each other. So I am calling on all of you to follow me in seeking to embody reconciliation and peacemaking right here at 2435 Kinwest Parkway.

I ask you, how profoundly beautiful would it be for God’s Children on campus during upcoming weekends to seek out and greet and hug the necks of Christian police officers with a different skin color from themselves? How profoundly beautiful would it be on campus during upcoming IBC weekends for Christian police officers to go out of their way to seek out and greet and hug the necks of God’s Children with a different skin color from themselves? How profoundly beautiful would it be on campus during IBC weekends for everybody to seek out and greet and hug the necks of God’s Children with a different skin color from themselves?

That’s an awful lot of hugging, I know. But how counter-cultural, how richly subversive in a spiritually profound way, how powerfully symbolic of God’s love to a hurting world. . . would that be? Christ has made us one, right? Now’s the time to show it.

So my dear friends, together let us let the light shine,

Pastor Andy

Join us tomorrow at IBC at 9 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.; and 5 p.m. where we will come together as a family and pray for healing and unity. 

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