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My heart was broken by the recent tragic violence that took six innocent lives in Atlanta, GA. There is no way to justify any forms of violence against people based on their colors and ethnicities. It is not only anti-cultural and anti-ethnic but also anti-human. Our baptismal vows remind us that we are called to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We must stand together against racism and stop racial hate crimes.

Whenever I learn such tragic news, I think of my child, who amazes me from time to time. Not only do I care for her, but also I learn from her. One thing that I learn from her is her sense of innocence and non-biased perspectives. When I walk with my daughter at a park or in the neighborhood, she greets anyone who passes by. Her genuine greeting with a smile toward people makes them greet her back with a smile, although you cannot see her whole facial expressions because of a mask. Then, she would call someone that she encounters either a sister, a brother, an uncle, an aunt, or a friend. How she does interact with people reminds me of what Jesus said about children, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14) Her innocent view on people helps me understand what we are intended to be and how we are created for. We are God’s family, no matter who you are and where you come from.

Can we learn from our children and protect their non-bias racial perspectives? What do we teach the next generation? How could they inherit love, kindness, and compassion from us? We as human beings have a distorted perspective on human races with misogyny and hatred and experience the consequences of broken humanity. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed this dream, “…all of God’s children…will be able to join hands and sing…” His dream continues, and God invites us to join this dream to fulfill.

For such a time as this, we turn to the Lord, who has already claimed the victory from sins and death, offering us healing and hope. Our Lord guides and protects us when we wonder and struggle because God is always with us no matter what. Let us pray for and be mindful of all of the victims of hate crimes and racism. Let us stand together against racism. Let us pray that our children may live in a world where all people join hands without hatred and discrimination and sing together a song of love and justice. Let us love one another as the Lord has loved us.

Lord, our hearts are shattered when we experience broken humanity. We have failed your love and struggled with evil, hatred, racism, and violence. We pray for all of the victims of hate crimes and racism. Be with their families and friends in this time of hardship. As we turn to you and have faith in you who has died for us and shown how to love, let your perpetual love shine upon us and give us the strength to love one another and end racism. “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us.” (Adapted from The UM Hymnal, No. 393) In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.

Amen.

-Pastor Hung Su Lim