In light of all that is going on in our nation, especially concerning the social unrest caused by the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breanna Taylor, among other African-Americans, I wanted to join the conversation and to say “thank you” to all those who were part of the peaceful prayer and candlelight ceremony on Saturday evening and those who have spoken out against the racism that is so prevalent in our nation. While I was not able to be at the candlelight ceremony myself, I fully support this type of action from the leaders of our community as well as community members.

What we all need in dealing with the racism that is still so prevalent in our nation today is a new mindset and a heart change. We need to have God’s perspective on who we are as human beings. The Scriptures teach that God thinks very highly of us and has made us the apex of his creation. Yes! That is right, for we have been created in the image of God. Because of this truth, each human being has equal value and worth. Each person is worthy of love, honor, respect and dignity. If you did not catch that, this includes all human beings, peoples of all races.

No race is either inferior or superior to another race of people. Thus, it means All Lives Matter, which also means Black Lives Matter too! As do the lives of Hispanics and Asians, Native Americans, and members of the other races, not only whites. For we are all precious in Jesus’ sight. Having this view, and making it part of one’s life, would help each of us to do all that we can to bring an end to the racism in our nation and to work together as equal citizens of the United States.

But the major reason we have trouble doing this is because of what is known as the Fall, when sin entered the world back in the Garden of Eden. And when sin entered the world, the image of God in the lives of human beings became marred. It is something that has affected all people, including you and me. This is the reason for all the hatred, incivility, racism, acts of violence and terrorism, and the wanting of our own way that is so prevalent in our nation and world today.

This is why I am glad that God not only thought very highly of us when we were created in God’s image, God thought very highly us too when Jesus came into the world not only to die for our sins but to reconcile us to God and restore the fallen image of God in our lives. Thanks be to God, for Jesus’ death, burial, ascension, for He is now in Heaven reigning and one will return and bring in the fullness of the Kingdom when he comes again.

But In the meantime, as we wait, let us work together, catching the dream the Lord gave Martin Luther King some 52 years ago, to become a nation and world where people of all races can join, standing arm in arm with one another, and kneeling together in prayer as well! That is my prayer for each of us, not only here in Cumberland, but throughout America and world!

The Rev. Hal Atkins


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