Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
While the city of Baton Rouge, the world and even our church faces anxious times, as people of faith, we must be a non-anxious presence in the face of anxious times.
The Department of Justice has said they will not charge Baton Rouge officers in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine." While some may agree with the decision, others may not; however, what remains clear is that a young man died who was a son, a father and a friend.
I remind you of our experiences of the last year, when we stood hand in hand, and prayed for a grieving community.
I remind you of the experiences following our epic flooding last fall. I was moved by the images of sisters and brothers of all colors, shapes, and sizes rescuing one another out of the flood waters.
We faced these challenging times with grace and compassion. We did what we are called to do, love our neighbor and I urge you, once again, to reach out to your neighbor in love.
Reach out to one another and offer expressions of grace and compassion.
Come Holy Spirit Come.
Remind us that love casts out all fear.
Remind us of our place in the heart of God.
Open our ears that we might hear the cries of those who hurt, open our eyes that we might see beyond color and address, open our minds that we might understand that which we do not know and open our hearts - wide open - that we might make space for everyone. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
May Love and Peace Prevail,
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey