By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta
"As If You Were Suffering"
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Emphasis mine)
George Floyd was pinned to the pavement by a police officer and lost his life. In the aftermath, people are looting, rioting, and protesting. What should our response be as Christians? According to Hebrews 13:3, our response should be to remember people who have been mistreated as if we ourselves were suffering. If George Floyd was mistreated, then we have all been mistreated. This is all the truer for us because George was a Christian who discipled others. I am not yet sure what it means exactly to remember George as if I were suffering, but I will be reflecting on that this week.
In God’s providence, He had me reflecting on these kinds of things already. Here are a couple of quotes I have been chewing on…
“The covenant–call to be God’s people, far from being primarily an invitation to special privilege, is first of all a summons to special responsibility. God calls a people to live in response to the needs of others, to live in right relationship with God, to bring justice and mercy to the land, and to lead the way toward peace and freedom.” (Emphasis mine)
From Seeking God’s Peace in a Nuclear Age: A Call to Disciples of Christ
For whatever the actual state of the…church, we know that in that sphere human beings are beckoned into new relationships with one another, and that this beckoning is more than a command; it is gospel. We can begin there, and thus also in the larger community beyond the sphere of explicit faith, to turn toward one another. The face of forgiveness, acceptance, and love that has been shown using the compassionate countenance of the God of Golgotha can be reflected in the faces that we show to one another. We can also begin there and thus beyond the bounds of this fellowship as well – to live out of a trust that overcomes the ancient addiction to suspicion that infects our race. We can begin there – and thus also in the larger community of humankind – to seek and find imitations of the community that is our de facto status as creatures, though we resist it strenuously and take refuge in the illusion of self-sufficiency. We can begin there – and thus find the necessary support for the same praxis within the life of the world – to defy the barriers to peace and justice that arise when human beings are conditioned to regard other human beings as “the enemy” or to think them less than fully human. (Emphasis mine)
From Imaging God by Douglas John Hall.
Whatever your initial response to the news about George Floyd’s death, I hope you will reflect on how you might remember him and all those who are mistreated as if you were suffering. Because when one suffers in this way, we all suffer.