This morning my alarm went off at 6 a.m. My spouse's alarm went off at the same time. My dog was confused. That's a bit earlier than normal.
I looked over at my alarm and saw the word "PRAY." Adam and I turned toward each other, took each other's hands, and then we prayed. We prayed for St. Louis, the city of Ferguson, for racial reconcilation. We prayed for Michael Brown's friends and family and for the family members and friends of the police officers involved in the shooting. We prayed for our local government and the FBI investigation. We prayed for local church leaders.
And then we said, "Amen," let the now-impatient dogs out, and wondered what news in the city had come in overnight.
At UUMC we have a vision of the church. We see a church where all cultures, all nations, and all ages can come together to love and serve God and neighbor.
This week in Saint Louis we've seen a gap between that vision and the reality. This gap is called sin. The sin is in individuals and in society. The sin is in structures, in violence, in historic and ongoing racism, and in the easy temptation to "do nothing."
The call of God is to participate in the creation of a new world---God's new creation, the kingdom of heaven. God gives us the vision. Jesus Christ shows us that it's possible. The Holy Spirit empowers us to act.
As our community continues to reel from the tragic death of Michael Brown and the ensuing riots, many are asking, "What can we do?"
The first and most important way is through prayer. The community of Ferguson, led by Wellspring United Methodist Church, has asked all concerned individuals to pray at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. We will continue praying each day until we can share in God-given vision of the church where all cultures, all nations, and all ages can come together to love and serve God and neighbor.
In addition, on Thursday, Aug. 13th at 6 p.m., there will be a National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality (St. Louis). Some people will gather at the St. Louis Gateway Arch; others will hold silence in their homes and cars.
Soon, we will have information from the Gateway District of the United Methodist Church on work days to clean up the city of Ferguson. Later in the semester, we will explore partnerships with primarily African-American churches in St. Louis in order to build relationships across racial lines.
Please keep checking back for these and further ways to be involved. This will be an ongoing effort; we will not stop in our prayers, our relationships, and our actions once the immediate crisis has passed.
A special thanks goes to those who regularly give financially to University UMC (or any other United Methodist Church). Our apportionments to the Missouri Annual Conference are what enable the denomination's quick response in times of crisis. Thank you.
My alarm will be going off at 6am again tomorrow. It will have a reminder to pray. Will you?