John 20:19-22, 1 Corinthians 3:16

Monday, June 1, 2020

John 20:19-22
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Our focus for the last week has been on the words “I can’t breathe.” When I first heard about the horror that happened in front of Cup Foods a week ago tonight I was brought back to New York City in July of 2014. I was leading a group of youth from St Cloud on a servant learning trip and the news of Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the NYPD was all over the local news. Eric also cried out “I can’t breathe”. I was conscience of my breathe during that week, as we walked from one borough to another. I was conscience of my breathe as I needed to raise my voice in order to get the attention of 30+ students and adults from central Minnesota in the Big Apple.

Now, we are in the midst of a pandemic. A new virus that attacks organs – especially our lungs. Many people are struggling for breathe – but the effects of the virus pales in comparison to witnessing the life breathe being taken from a person at the hands of a police officer.

I don’t know who is reading this – who is watching this. As a woman from the dominant culture I know that I don’t have to worry about a police officer choking the life out of me because of the color of my skin. It is a privilege that I carry because of our deeply held, 400 year old cultural conviction that white people have more value than black people.

This is not a God given value – it is man-made and corporately supported through generations of silence.

Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 3 what value God places on human life… Holy.

Jesus breathed into you, church just as he did into George Floyd, the presence of the Holy Spirit. George Floyd was God’s temple. We cannot allow the destruction of any temple of God to go unchallenged. We can no longer sit in silence, showing the world that we care more about being white than about being christian.

And so, church, may God’s Holy Spirit –dwelling in you – give you the will, the strength, and the power to go out and transform lives through Jesus Christ – all lives! Amen.

Let’s pray:
Holy God, giver of life, you have breathed into each of us the gift of your Holy Spirit transforming us into your temple. May we see YOU in each person. May the value of a person no longer be based on the color of their skin but on the fact that YOU dwell within them.
Be with the family of George Floyd and all who grieve his death. Be with the first responders as they maintain order in our nation’s cities. May their actions be just and their words be life giving.
Spur us on to be a force for change in our culture that we might see an end to systemic racism.
In Jesus name,