Dear Church Family, My heart is heavy as I think so many times each day about the medical and social conditions in which we find ourselves. The pandemic has placed so much grief, pain, hardship, and hopelessness on so many in our country and around the world. We have entered the world where masks, gloves, social distancing, and quarantine have taken on new and desperate meanings. Our world seemingly has changed forever in the light of destruction and disruption the virus has brought on our previous way of life.  The need for reform in our justice system has finally come to a point where change can no longer be postponed or ignored. Injustice and unfair treatment of those who are of a different color than white, those who speak a different language, or come from a different culture can no longer be tolerated. Police and court systems must be reformed to reflect justice for all people with no exceptions. While peaceful protests have brought much attention to the need for serious reform, the rioting, burning of businesses, and assaults on police have done more harm than good to the cause for change. I have mentioned in several of my writings and devotions that the root of the problem of injustice, whatever form it takes, lies in the heart of humanity. So, it is there the change must be made, and only by a heart transplant from the Holy Spirit who will erase prejudice, replacing it with divine love. Dr. Timothy Tennent says this so much better than I, so I quote him from his latest blog. “In Christianity, the phrase ‘holy desperation’ refers to that tipping point in sanctification when you become so discontent with your spiritual state, and so utterly desperate for change that you finally enter into a true surrender to God. These are rare moments, and they become symbolic markers for transformation and change. I think that this is a rough analogy to where our nation is today regarding racial justice. We may be entering into a state of such desperation that we finally accept the kind of deep change that is required.” “Our nation has symbolically gone from ‘I have a dream’ to ‘Hands up’ to ‘I can’t breathe.’ This might be the moment of holy desperation, where we finally realize that the normal resources we draw upon for hope are bankrupt. A political solution cannot solve the challenge of racism in our country. A new set of laws cannot resolve the challenge of racism. The challenge of racism cannot be resolved by hoping that this whole incident will blow over and we can get back to normal. We, of course, need political courage. We may need new laws. But none of that will address the depth of this wound. This is the opportunity that summons the church of Jesus Christ to rise up and be the church amid human brokenness. It is the church that proclaims to the world that this is not merely a political problem, a legal problem, or some corrupt cops. This is a heart problem. ‘This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting’ (Matt. 17:21).” “We have, as a society, been placing our knees on the necks of some of our most vulnerable citizens. It is now time—that moment of holy desperation—where we gather the courage to bend our knees, not in hatred, but in prayer. We need to bend our knees before the living God and cry out to change our hearts. Of course, we need to change police protocols. But that is mere window-dressing if we do not get to the core problem, which is our hearts. We need a great awakening in this country. We need a spiritual rebirth. We need to be changed from within. If the truth is told, George Floyd spoke for the whole human race when he said, ‘I can’t breathe.’ There is no life in any of us unless and until we receive the breath of the Lord Jesus, giving us new hope for new birth and a new heart.” Lord, we are at that tipping point of holy desperation. In Christ, Rev. Tim McConnell  Pastor of Congregational Care

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