Rally For Love
Black Lives Matter
On Sunday June 7, Bethel International Church sponsored a “Black Lives Matter Rally for Love” in our front yard along Bethel Road. Over a hundred socially-distanced church members, friends and neighbors held signs and chanted, then knelt for eight minutes and forty-six seconds in memory of George Floyd. Our Lord Jesus lived his life in solidarity with the hungry, oppressed and excluded. When the temple sacrificial system was unjust and exploitative, Jesus publicly protested against it. To follow Jesus is to live as Jesus lived. Jesus’ Church stands with the hungry, oppressed and excluded. So does Bethel International Church. Our vision of being an amazingly international and beautifully multicultural congregation requires us to join our community, neighbors of every color, creed, and condition, to live as one in a just and loving world.
Some people, I understand, are uncomfortable with public demonstrations and messages that seem to them too “political.” Trust me, I am made uncomfortable by such things too. Yet I am made even more uncomfortable by being silent in the face of injustice, by simply allowing racism to continue hurting our black brothers and sisters as it has done for hundreds of years.
Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Now is the time to speak. We plan to keep a peaceful presence along Bethel Road every Monday from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, until real change is made. Specifics about that change are being worked on this week.
Some people also believe this is an “anti-cop” message. The truth is, we all rely on law enforcement every day. Officers do the difficult and dangerous work of protecting the vulnerable and pursuing the violent. I certainly understand why officers might feel threatened in this environment. Some people may be “anti-cop.” We are for equality and justice for all. We protest bias and brutality on the part of certain officers, and the systems that allow bias and brutality to persist.
When our Sunday rally was over, a white Columbus police officer pulled into the parking lot. He asked if we were pleased with the turnout, thanked us for staying safely back from the street, and let us know he was here to help however he could. We demonstrate against all that is not that.