For decades, Asian and Asian American brothers and sisters in the faith have richly blessed Christ Church through ministry and fellowship together. Our ministry across the street and around the world has led to many moments of rejoicing together (Romans 12:15).
We have hosted the Memphis Chinese Evangelical Church for their services and Bible Studies for years. We have had joyful services together in worship, locked arms together on the mission field at Cup of Nations and shared meals together in Wilson-Ross.
We have taken numerous trips overseas to serve with our Global Partners as they demonstrated their hearts to reach their nation with the Gospel. We have learned and profited greatly from their teaching, and have been encouraged to participate in their efforts for evangelism in our city and around the world.
Yes, we have been richly blessed and have had many reasons to rejoice together.
As that verse in Romans 12 calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice, it also calls us to weep with those who weep. The two commands of this verse stand together, and to do one and neglect the other shows a lack of understanding of its entirety.
This morning, our Asian American brothers and sisters in the faith are waking up in grief to the news that six Asian American women were killed in Atlanta last night. While there is still information to come in regards to motive, this news has come as another tragedy to this community and one that I pray we pause, reflect, grieve, and weep with our brothers and sisters in Christ over.
To our Asian and Asian American brothers and sisters in Christ in our church, in our city and around the world, we are weeping with you. Our prayer is that we do not remain silent in the face of such evil, but present the Gospel in word and deed to the watching world as we declare that Asian lives are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26) with full dignity, value, and worth.
Any targeted violence and hate speech towards these fellow image-bearers must continue to be seen as antithetical to the Gospel we proclaim and God we serve. Therefore, we weep with them for the rise of racial violence that they have faced since the start of the pandemic- violence at a higher rate this year than in previous years.
We weep with them as xenophobic and racist terms have been tolerated as jokes in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We weep with them over our resounding silence and complicity in the face of these things, even in a year with frequent discussions on racial justice.
Today, we weep together, but as we look around towards the Lenten season that we find ourselves in. As we look towards the coming cross of Easter, we know that this weeping will one day lead us to eternal joy, as we join together united in Christ around His throne, as God will be glorified through the praise and worship of a diverse and multi-ethnic group of image-bearers (Rev 7:9).
Yes, we weep today, but we hold confidence that that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5).