Dear friends,

Some of you heard this during our livestream worship this morning, but I want to let others know, too. Late Memorial Day afternoon Joe fell on our deck and hit the back of his head and neck on a table. He was reluctant to go to the ER for fear of exposure to the coronavirus, but on Tuesday morning our doctor told him that’s where he needed to be. I dropped him off at St. Joseph’s ER. He had a mild concussion and fractured his neck. At first the doctor thought he would need surgery, but now thinks he should heal with six weeks in a neck brace. He’s still in the hospital, but we hope he’ll be home within the next couple of days. All three of us appreciate your prayers.

I’m sorry we had a couple of technical glitches in this morning’s service. Bob Longino had recorded the Prayers of the People, but for some reason the livestream would not switch to the video. It happened again on the final hymn, I’m Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing. I can only guess that the Spirit wasn’t in the mood for singing right now. I don’t blame her.

I have a couple of things to share with you. The first is a link to the video we played at the offertory. Thanks to Cameron, Quinn, and Joseph Henry for their musical talents. And thanks to Joseph Henry for helping me put it all together. I hope you enjoy seeing each other this way.

The second is a statement that Bishop Wright released last night about the events of the past few days. I think it is him at his finest. I commend it to you.

Bishop Wright’s statement on the events in Atlanta last night: 

From the founding of our country we have had a white supremacy problem. In three vivid and tragic incidents this week, this founding flaw has been revealed again. What looks like the behavior of a few bad actors is actually a system producing what it was designed to produce, the denial of dignity and safety to black and brown people, specifically black men. 

My heart breaks with every telling and retelling of the Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd murders. My heart has been broken time and time again in this way since I can remember. 

I fear for the lives and mental well-being of my three black sons. Especially because we know that organized white supremacists and their sympathizers have infiltrated law enforcement and government at every level. I do not condone violence by the police or protesters because I am a prisoner of God’s hope. Because Jesus is the Lord of my life. And, I do not condone property damage for the cause of protest because it gives critics a means to diminish legitimate concerns. 

But I am, like so many, at my wits end. When we are killed like dogs in the street we are told to be patient and that justice will prevail except, justice in these instances, has been the exception and not the rule. People of every race and good will have been told that our eyes are lying when we see murder, or that the person deserved to die because they had a past. 

So in these two cases we will wait, breathing shallow breaths, to see if in Georgia and Minnesota we will deviate from our well worn American pattern. I stand with all law enforcement who protect and serve the dignity, safety and rights of all people. I stand with Chief Shields here in Atlanta. I echo Mayor Lance-Bottoms words, “we can do better than this in Atlanta.” I pray that the blood of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd has not been spilled in vain.

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