Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It seems as though there is no rest for the weary. And weary, we are indeed. We are weary as we continue to mourn for the victims of violence at the Pulse night club in Orlando, for victims of terrorism in Baghdad, Istanbul, Bangladesh, and the Holy City of Medina. We are particularly weary today, as we mourn Alton Sterling, the 558th person killed by the police this year. We are weary of seeing images like the ones plastered over our social media today, of black people gunned down by police. We are weary and we have run out of laments and out of space for all of the names of the people killed too soon by those sworn to protect. We are weary of having to explain that Black Lives Should Matter!
Yesterday, in my hometown of Baton Rouge, LA, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old father, lost his life at the corner of N. Foster Drive and Fairfield. We offer our prayers of peace and comfort for his family. We mourn with them as they have lost a father, brother, son, and friend. We pray for his community and all who see themselves in Alton Sterling’s story. We stand in solidarity with his family and all who speak with righteous indignation in their demand for justice.
Today, we mourn, cry out, and acknowledge that we are weary indeed. But Scripture reminds us that when we call upon the Lord, our strength will be renewed. So today, we will also call upon the Lord, and claim our renewed strength for the work of racial justice and justice for Alton Sterling. We are inspired by Sterling’s wife who proclaimed, “I will not rest.” In his memory, we too will not rest because we know there are too many families that will never rest again. We recommit ourselves to the work of the beloved community until everyone recognizes the inherent dignity in all of God’s children.
All of the nation, today and for the rest of this week there will be opportunities for you to more deeply engage. I am going to do this by going back to my hometown of Baton Rouge this weekend to work directly with my community and reach out to my neighbors. I encourage you to meet and reach out to your neighbors as well.
Your brother in Christ,
Reverend Elijah R. Zehyoue
Director of Programs and Communications