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As He Lay Dying

April 22, 2021

Dear Church,

Each fall when I was a little girl, my mother and I would watch The Wizard of Oz. Some scenes were too terrible to watch. Remember when the monkeys would fly through the air? My hands would fly to my face. How about the wicked witch chase scene; or the scarecrow and the fire scene; or when Miss Gulch snatched sweet Toto... Some things are too terrible to watch, even when we know they're not real.

This week, news reporters reflected on the State of Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin trial: How jurors were required to watch 17-year old Darnella Frazier's 9:29-minute video of Police Officer Chauvin's knee on George Floyd’s back; How Mr. Floyd said "I can't breathe" 28 times - along with “please!” and cries for Mama - while he was being murdered; How Mr. Floyd stretched his hand toward a cruiser tire, clawing for a little leverage…How three complicit police officers and a growing crowd of bystanders did just that while Mr. Floyd's body poured itself onto the sidewalk after he took his very. last. breath.

Scripture tells us that we are to lay down our lives for one another; that God’s love does not dwell in those who have privilege yet refuse help one who does not. As a matter of fact, the author of 1 John 3: 16-24 concludes that God’s love dwelling-in-us will not let us turn away. It will compel us to acknowledge situations otherwise too terrible to watch, process the brutality, unpack its origin and respond through the indwelling of God’s love in our soul. It will compel us to notice that repeated incidents of hate against people of color is not a coincidence, nor proportionate to the demographic trends, nor something others can defeat alone. It will compel us to participate in God’s forming of a beautiful new creation that is palpably dominated by love.

Maybe you’ve seen this: "George Floyd isn’t a “wake-up call.” The same alarm has been ringing since 1619. Y’all just keep hitting snooze." With the murders of 13-year old Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright among the killings of black people by police officers this past week alone, the alarm is sounding loud and clear.

Join Avenue Church NYC as we

participate in the movement toward justice and liberation for black people in America. Together, we will work with God to defeat the evil that is assaulting people of color here and around our nation.

Looking forward with gratitude, hope and love,


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