Another Racist Mass Shooting and Our Failure to Herd Jesus’ Sheep – Baptist News Global
In worship on May 1, Village Baptist Church read together the words of Jesus when he asks his disciple: “Peter, do you love me? When Peter responds to Jesus, “Of course, Lord, you know that I love you,” Jesus gives him a simple directive: “Guard my sheep” (John 21:15-19).
From the beginning of our scriptures, God unequivocally declares that human beings are made in the image of God. All human beings bear the image of God. No exception.
On Sunday morning we will hear the words of Jesus saying, “I leave you alone; I give you my peace” (John 14:27). The same Savior who told his disciples that “those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52) implores them to accept his peace so they can spread his message in word and deed .
Saturday, May 14, 13 people were shot at a Buffalo grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood. Eleven of those 13 people were black and 10 died. Ten people created in the image of God are buried because of hatred and violence. And this story has become too commonplace.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, approximately 450 murders have been committed by political extremists in the United States over the past decade. More than half of them were perpetrated by people espousing a message of white supremacy.
One of the earliest Christian baptismal beliefs is quoted by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians: “There is no more Jew or Greek; there is no longer a slave or a free; there is no more male and female, because you are all one in Jesus Christ.
White supremacy, replacement theory or any view that values one human being above another is contrary to Christian witness. And yet, many people who commit these atrocious acts and express such hateful opinions do so in the name of Christianity.
As followers of Christ, we cannot remain silent in the face of such evil. In the words of Wayne AI Fredrick, President of Howard University: “Although we have grown accustomed to these recurring tragedies, we can never tolerate their regularity. No matter how frequent, racist mass shootings are not inevitable, and we must not allow ourselves to perceive them as such.
Although this particular tragedy did not take place in our community, we must not remain silent until such a tragedy comes to our doorstep. As people seeking to build a Beloved Community, we must boldly proclaim the love of a Creator who formed each of us in the image of God and left us with one task: Herd my sheep.
“We guard Christ’s sheep by ensuring that wolves cannot harm God’s beloved children.”
We tend the sheep of Christ ensuring that wolves cannot harm God’s beloved children.
We tend to Christ’s sheep by raising young people to value kindness, justice and humility above prejudice and violence.
We guard Christ’s sheep by speaking up—and speaking with—when the sheep are hurt.
Certainly, we pray for the lives of those who were lost senselessly on Saturday. But we don’t stop there. We continue on this journey to become a beacon for our community emanating from love, drowning out hate and caring for the sheep of Christ so that all may know the peace that Christ intended.
Emily Holladay is pastor of the Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland.
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