This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1
BJ Weber is a family friend and Chaplain to the New York Police and Fire Departments. He lives in the heart of Manhattan and has ministered to NYC for over 40 years. He has a genuine love for Jesus that is evident by the fruit he has reaped from his years of love and sacrifice to New Yorkers. BJ sends out a monthly newsletter and I’d like to share some of the thoughts he wrote last month:
Just over 19 years ago, after Sept 11th, New York City police, firefighters, and EMT’s were then heralded as heroes—celebrated on and off duty and honored throughout the country. Today is quite different. The NYPD are routinely taunted, spit upon, shot, threatened, ambushed, and murdered. The real bravery now is when first responders continue to show up and do their duty.
The world we live in now has a recklessness about it. Important public protests call out attention to race issues, which do need to be addressed and confronted with an honest sense of purpose and reconciliation. However, as I speak to young and older people alike, I find many walls of hostility and misunderstanding—walls of judgment and fear, where anxiety abounds.
We who follow Jesus should be the forerunners of reconciliation and hope. We who know the Prince of Peace can become ambassadors of reconciliation and champions of the atonement of the Cross. We should be building bridges where we can agree on common ground. Let us aim for love and mercy to be the common denominators, rather than power, accusations, and fear. Let us develop and maintain real friendships, where communion can take place, despite our differences of opinion.
I recently attended a conference with a number of young African American friends. During a sharing session one of them commented to me, “Coach, you know white folks are walking on egg shells trying to deal with race stuff right now? Well that’s how we black people have felt our whole lives…like we are always walking on egg shells.”
Maybe all of us need to start conversations between people of different racial backgrounds so we can understand each other more and learn how to move forward, and learn how in the name of our Savior to say to one another, “I love you, and will you forgive me.” Building bridges is so much more fulfilling than holding anger and judgment which offers no hope for peace or reconciliation.
Relating to these current issues, the Lord’s words still hold true: “Come to me all of you who are heavy burdened and I shall give you rest.”
BJ Weber is a bridge builder and the world needs more like him…Let us ask the Lord for strength to love others as He loves us, so that the world might know that we are followers of Jesus, by the love we have for one another.