May 29, 2020
To the People of God in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod,
I’ve woken up the past few mornings with a heavy heart. The first things I do most mornings are read the Bible and read the news; what I’m reading in the news is making me weep.
I want to talk about the killing of George Floyd.
I try to be careful in all the news I watch and read. I try to stop and hold onto whatever objective information there is. I asked myself after learning of George Floyd’s death
what do I know
? And what I know is this: a black man lies on the ground with a white man’s knee on his neck and the black man dies. And what I know is this: if George Floyd was my husband or brother or son, I would have fallen into a million little pieces by now. I would have simply dissolved into an abyss of grief.
I also know this: that one of the men I most respect, admire and love has dedicated his life to working for the good of our nation as a law enforcement officer. I know that job has brought him to battles against evils most of us are blissfully unaware of. Unaware because he does what he does.
I know that this is not an either/or situation. I know that I can both be angry in response to George Floyd’s cruel death as I join my voice with those who call for justice
I can know there are those who serve in law enforcement who do their work with integrity and compassion.
I know this: that one of our central beliefs as Christians is that all people are created in the image of God. All people have inherent dignity and worth. I know that every single life matters and George Floyd’s life was worth just as much as mine.
I know that God is just, even as we live in an unjust world, and that “he has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I know that my words are not enough and I need to do the work of turning the convictions of my faith into action.
I know that the destruction associated with some of the protestors is disconcerting. And I’m asking you not to fixate on the destruction brought by some and instead focus on the truth that we are all called to participate in the work of justice. We’re going to need to figure out a way to work together.
And I know as a white woman with a certain amount of privilege, how easy it can be to dismiss something as untrue because it reflects truth that is uncomfortable or outside my experience. So, I’m asking us to listen and to believe the words our siblings of color speak even when those words are hard to hear or tell us of a world we know nothing about. Listen.
Dear people of God, I believe with my whole heart that we are the people who can work for justice. We are the people who meet, in all our need, at the foot of the cross, the very place where death begins its transformation to life.
Oh that the Spirit of God would blow through each of us so that we may indeed do justice, and love kindness and walk humbly with our God.
Bishop Regina Hassanally