By Steven Norris

“How can two people walk together, unless they are in agreement?” The prophet Amos was onto something here.

Shortly after the death of George Floyd, I received a phone call from one of my fellow ministers, asking if I would be willing to attend a meeting of local clergy to discuss the increased racial tension in our community. I readily agreed, noting that this has been a desire of mine since arriving in this community.

On that first Monday night, clergy members from the black and white communities gathered together for an honest and courageous conversation about racial division and to pray for the Spirit to open a way forward. We gathered to lament that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words still ring true today: “that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

Members of that gathering sang together, told stories of their experiences, confessed, cried, asked forgiveness, and prayed as brothers and sisters and in Christ. More than anything, we sought to understand one another. It was a small step in the right direction.

Since then, more difficult conversations have taken place. More plans are being formulated. More listening still needs to be done. Much more work is ahead of us if we are going to become the beloved community that King envisioned.

The more we talk, however, the more that we recognize the truth of the Apostle Paul’s words: “though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” 

As people of faith, we are called to a different way of life. We are called to embody a different kind of family and a different kind of service. We are called to fight against the forces of evil with a different set of weapons.

Violence – whether in action or in words – is antithetical to Christ’s way. Hatred for our brother or sister undermines Jesus’ call to love. Further division is merely a consequence of sin and not of the kin-dom (family) that Christ came to establish.

As MLK so famously stated: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

On Sunday, July 5, members of Griffin’s faith community are seeking to put those alternative weapons to use. Armed with the Holy Spirit, prayer, love, and the sacrament of the eucharist, they plan to address the pervasive darkness that assaults our world. 

The walk will gather at Rising Star Baptist church at 9:00 a.m., cross the bridge, and end in the 6th St. Park. For those unable to attend in person, you are encouraged to join in prayer from your homes between 9:15-10:15.

Maybe the first steps of healing will come as brothers and sisters break bread together, lift their voices in praise together, and bow their hearts in reverence together. It’s this kind of agreement and this kind of walking that may just mark the first steps toward healing, justice, equity, and shalom.

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