The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever else you get, get insight.
— Proverbs 4:7
An Easter season that we could never have imagined has concluded with a Day of Pentecost that delivered a stark reminder of just how much reform we need. Pentecost is all about understanding each other in new ways, even when we come from very different places.
Deep pain and suffering among fellow Americans is in plain view. George Floyd joined a long, unbroken line of people of color dying at the hands of police or would-be police, self-appointed keepers of the status quo.
We have watched as violence and looting replace peaceful demonstrations. Protesters are responsible for some of this, yes, but, clearly, opportunists with no real moral conviction move among them. Last weekend, here in Philadelphia, we saw the extremes: peaceful protest, the taunting of police and their violent response, looting, and, ultimately, arson. Some of the greatest unrest and most extensive damage have unfolded only blocks from the Board of Pensions offices and colleagues’ homes.
We know that violence begets violence, and that violent protests will not win hearts and minds. Yet, where there is no justice, there can be no peace. There are no easy answers. But death at the hands of those entrusted with the protection of all must stop. Racism must be confronted and addressed.
The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost in a unifying moment. Surely we can count on that same Spirit guiding us now, in this time of chaos and flames. From lament to hope is the theme we will gather around at the 224th General Assembly (2020) later this month. We will be communicating and seeking discernment in an entirely new way, with digital technology as the medium. We ask that the Holy Spirit pour out upon us so that we may speak truth and experience understanding to the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace,
The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer