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Prayer Alerts & Updates


"Black Lives Matter Sunday" (12/14/2014)

Thu, 11 Dec 2014 - 4:09 PM CST

Call for AG Churches to Observe "Black Lives Matter Sunday" in Coordination with Church of God in Christ

--From AG News 12/11/2014

 

Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of

God, issues a personal request for AG churches to support the Church

of God of Christ in observing Black Lives Matter Sunday on December

14, 2014.--

 

Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. of the Church of God in Christ has asked

COGIC churches to observe Black Lives Matter Sunday this coming

Sunday, December 14, 2014. As Bishop Blake's friend and counterpart

in the Assemblies of God, I ask that all AG churches do the same. I

have two reasons for doing so.

 

First and foremost, black lives matter. The lives of all people are

precious to God, of course, but at the present moment, many of our

black brothers and sisters in COGIC and the AG feel that their lives

are not highly valued by many in white America. As examples, they

point to the recent controversial decisions of grand juries in St.

Louis County, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, not to return

bills of indictment against white police officers in the deaths of

two black males, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

 

Whatever your opinion of those controversial decisions, can we stand

with our brothers and sisters and affirm the value of black lives

generally and of their lives specifically? Scripture teaches that

God does not take pleasure in the death of people, not even the

death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). If so, then whatever the

circumstances, we can be certain that God did not take pleasure in

the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Therefore, neither

should we. Can we affirm, then, the grief our black brothers and

sisters feel about these men's deaths? Think of it this way: If the

families and friends of Michael Brown and Eric Garner attended your

church, how would you minister to them in their sorrow?

 

Scripture teaches us to "mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15).

Black Lives Matter Sunday is a way for all Assemblies of God

churches to do that with our black brothers and sisters in the

Church of God in Christ, our own National Black Fellowship, and the

many multicultural churches in the Assemblies of God. Scripture

teaches, "If one part [of the body of Christ] suffers, every part

suffers with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26). Let us suffer with our

brothers and sisters in their time of mourning.

 

Second, America is racially divided and needs the Church to heal its

divisions. The Pentecostal movement, to which both COGIC and the AG

belong, traces a large portion of its spiritual genealogy to the

Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, at the start of the

twentieth century. In that revival, led by a godly black man named

William J. Seymour, the Spirit of Jesus Christ powerfully knit

together the hearts of people who attended, regardless of race and

ethnicity. For a shining moment at Azusa Street, when the

surrounding culture was segregated by color, "the color line was

washed away in the Blood," as Frank Bartleman famously put it.

Unfortunately, the forces of segregation reasserted themselves among

white Pentecostals, and for many decades thereafter, they allowed

the spirit of Jim Crow into their churches.

 

Great strides have been made in civil rights and racial

reconciliation over the past century, of course, but America still

experiences racial divisions. If Spirit-filled Christians cannot

find a way to work together to heal these divisions, what hope is

there for the rest of the country? The Church of God in Christ and

the Assemblies of God share a like, precious faith, including our

belief in and experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus

Christ has already united us in doctrine and experience, in other

words. If we cannot unite at this hour, how can we expect America to

be united, when it has no spiritual foundation for unity?

 

Because black lives matter, and because America needs the Church to

heal its lingering racial divisions, I ask that Assemblies of God

churches join the Church of God in Christ on Sunday, December 14,

2014, and pray for the following things:

 

* Pray during the service that God would bless the ministries of the

Church of God in Christ, our own National Black Fellowship, and the

many AG multicultural churches, enlarging their territory through

Spirit-guided influence on the communities where they minister.

 

* Pray that God would unite the hearts of all Spirit-filled

believers, but especially COGIC and the AG, so that together, we

would become a "Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with

Dwellings" (Isaiah 58:12) in our nation.

 

* Pray for law enforcement and judicial officers, especially

Spirit-filled believers among them, that they would be servants of

justice, reconciliation, and peace in the communities they serve.

 

I recognize that some of you may find my request to observe Black

Lives Matter Sunday controversial because of deep disagreement over

the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. I do not wish to be

controversial or to bring further division within the Church or

within America. We have enough of that already.

 

Rather, I wish for us to find points of unity and cooperation across

racial lines. We can take steps together in that direction by

affirming the value of black lives and by praying for unity in our

churches and our society this Sunday, December 14. I hope you will

join me in observing Black Lives Matter Sunday with our brothers and

sisters in the Church of God in Christ.

 

Finally, at this Christmas season, may we take to heart once again

the glorious announcement of the angel that the birth of Jesus is

"good news that will cause great joy for all the people" (Luke

2:10)!

 

--George O. Wood