A reflection from Pastor Pete…  

            You would think that words come easy for a pastor. Many times they do (too many long sermons are evidence).   But this is a hard write. Words have power and we need to use them carefully, graciously, and truthfully.   But words aren’t always the answer – sometimes silence speaks louder. The old invocation from Habakkuk I heard many times in my youth rings true… “ The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.” So I humbly write a few thoughts and offer a prayer as your pastor that have come out of my laments this week; reflecting on the unbridled hate and racism on full display in Charlottesville and around our country.

            One of the beautiful things I treasure about Westview Church is that we reflect a little bit of heaven. On any given Sunday or midweek activity we have many different ethnic groups among us.   The world, and its God created diversity is here. I love it.   Our diverse, international heritage of red and yellow, black and white, is a wonderful anticipation of the great multitude “from every nation, tribe, people, and language, who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ   (Rev. 7:9-10).   We are a part of a denomination that has called us as a people and corporately as a church “to witness publicly against racism, prejudice, poverty, and all injustices recognizing all people as image bearers of God” (Acts of Synod 1996).

            I hope we all grieve and condemn manifestations of racism and white supremacy. God calls us as brothers and sisters in Christ to be united in love with all people.   In our conversations, thoughts, and attitudes we renounce arrogance and hatred and work toward a better world where all people are treated with justice and respect.

            “Lord, we pray for your church. May each congregational member humbly bow at your feet in sorrow for our broken world, so far away from creation order and harmony. We see unbridled hate and it is as clear as the snake in the garden.   We lament, dear God, that what tears our communities apart has threads that unravel in our own hearts. Heal our land, O Lord and renew a right spirit within us. Forgive us for being complacent and silent. Convict us of our sin and bring us near to those who are different than us. Change our hearts, oh God, unite us in love, and let justice roll down as a mighty stream.   May we invest our lives in changing this devastating story to one of restoration, peace, and hope.     In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.     

Pastor Pete