Statement of the Leadership of Grace Baptist Church of Blue Bell on the death of George Floyd.

The Board of Deacons has read many statements from different groups and we adapted our statement from that made by Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great.

The Leadership of Grace Baptist Church of Blue Bell express our deep sorrow and regret at the needless death of George Floyd. This occasion moves us to prayer, reflection, and urgent attention to the present moment. In a spirit of mourning, we address this letter to the wider community as an expression of our sentiments.

Mr. Floyd’s dying words, “I can’t breathe”, are a powerful symbol. They call to mind the biblical story in Genesis where we read, “the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Thus Adam, the first man, created in the image and likeness of God, begins his life in this moment.

After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to the disciples and twice said to them: ‘Peace be with you.’ On that same occasion, “he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” breath is crucial from the moment God created the first human to the moment of the new creation in Christ. Breath and life are inseparable. As part of this act of life, Jesus wishes them Peace! “Peace be with you!” The message is clear, just as breath and life belong together, so do peace and life in Christ.

The world needs Christ’s peace now more than ever. Social unrest has spread across America and around the world. Righteous anger is an appropriate response to injustice, even called for, yet we must never allow it to devolve into rage. Peaceful demonstrations for social change honor the spirit of Christian social action, while violence and looting betray it. Some of the most hopeful images to emerge in the last few days include police officers marching arm in arm with protesters against racism and kneeling together. To heal the wounds of racism and injustice, we cannot antagonize and alienate one another. We must find common ground and work together.

These times are challenging and distressing, but we are called to continue to be people of Faith, Hope, and Love. God’s word teaches us that these things will endure. Every faith tradition teaches peace. For us, Jesus Christ is the object of our faith, the basis of our hope, and the model for our love. We pray that God will guide us all on the paths of peace and reconciliation.

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