You and I made a pledge when we were baptized and publicly proclaimed to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We said, or someone said on your behalf, “I accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” And with that solemn pledge before God, we joined the family of Christians around the globe, freed from any constraint against doing good, and empowered to do so. Some of you, may not have been baptized and I encourage you to consider what this sacrament means and how it can bring meaning to your life. I invite you to speak to others, including your pastor, about how God might be calling you to join this community of believers.

Now, facing a daunting series of challenges, we see many persons acting in ways that are contrary to this pledge. Evil and injustice are growing in their frequency, intensity, and painfulness. If you have made this covenant at your baptism, I ask you to honor it as we confront the swirling violence and harm being done around us. I implore you in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, do not glorify violence and animosity, but instead, to do your part in resisting the oppression directed toward others, do not condone the loss of life in these times of protest and conflict.

In the aftermath of a tragic violent shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, how does our baptismal covenant guide us? Might we find some hope in our dedicating ourselves to learning more about others, engaging in respectful conversation, even starting from a place of introspection with humility and openness? Out of love for Jesus, can we confer about police brutality, seeking a solution to the ongoing violence against Black lives?

In the contentious, caustic political climate that is choking our nation, can we direct our energy toward positive ministry that makes a difference? Rather than tearing apart each other’s political views, let us focus on a plan of action that will lead to strengthening our democracy, not obliterating it.

Remembering these baptismal vows becomes even more crucial today than it was a generation ago. We observe forces of evil and wickedness on a daily basis in ways that we could never have imagined possible.

The call to reflect and act against this evil is critical to our lives as Christ followers. As Robin DiAngelo reminds us, “Discrimination is action based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence.”  Let us not be detracted from our resolve. I invite you to join the DSC RACE Coalition in Reflection, Action, Courageous Dialogue, and Engagement around the hope of eradicating racism in our communities and in our nation and world.

As we call ourselves “Christians,” let us live as members of the Body of Christ, glorifying the peace of God, the love of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Author: Bishop Hoshibata

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