"...to do justly..."
This past Monday, CHS students, faculty, and parents gathered in prayer, in a virtual format, to offer confession, to worship God, and to cry out to Him, sharing our heartache over the recent killing of George Floyd and the underlying racial injustices in our society that we seek to confront as believers. The meeting followed a special video devotional on the subject offered over the weekend by CHS chaplain Mark Persson.
The depth and magnitude of the challenges we face as a nation and as the Body of Christ can seem insurmountable. But acknowledging them together and seeking God is a powerful step, according to Mr. Persson. “In prayer, we get a sense of our helplessness,” he notes, “but also hopefulness in God.”
It’s a step that was deeply appreciated by those who participated. “Thank you for addressing this,” wrote one parent. “My son has been asking about things going on.” Another wrote, “Thank you for choosing to say something about how we experience social injustice differently and the need for racial reconciliation.”
To “say something” – to address directly the issues surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death – is a natural extension of an ongoing conversation at CHS, notes Persson. He has supported the pioneering efforts of CHS faculty member Patricia Liu and her students to foster community-wide understanding and action around racial justice and reconciliation.
The student group she advises, Imago Dei, sponsors an annual Diversity Week comprising myriad activities designed to “replicate the Kingdom of God within our community,” according to Miss Liu. This year, notes Mr. Persson, Diversity Week served as vital preparation for our community to encounter, process, understand, and talk about, recent events. During the week, students wrote essays and poetry now being collected into an anthology; they performed justice-themed songs and spoken word at an online virtual concert; and they arrived at new understandings together – despite all those activities happening at a distance.
“The depth of thought in these essays is truly moving,” Miss Liu says of the students' written submissions. “I think our kids know well the nature of this truly extraordinary time that, for them, is not just a thing of the present, but will also be part a of a very uncertain future as they grow into adulthood.” Far from giving up, though, she says, “time and time again, I am heartened by all the ways our students step up in ways that make their community stronger, kinder, and more unified.”
Dr. Brian Modarelli, head of school, sees all these efforts in light of the Bible’s “vibrant and compelling mandate of love for others, coupled with a comprehensive rejection of hate.” Citing John 13:34-35, Dr. Modarelli reminds us that that work is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. “Jesus left His presence with the Father, to live among us, to know us, and to love us. He asks us to know and love each other and tells us that the presence of this love will be the hallmark of His followers.”
May that love continue to be the hallmark of this community of Christ-followers in ever increasing measure as we seek, together, to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”