Here is the statement we shared in worship this morning at Calvary Presbyterian Church.
Last week, we spoke these words together from the Confession of Belhar:
—that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream;
— that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.
And so, today, we are here to denounce the violence and discrimination against Asian Americans that has been on the rise in our country, in our community. It is sin. It is against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must work against it.
This week, a white Christian man killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. This is the most visible news story, but over 3,800 cases of violence and harassment against Asian Americans have been reported in the past year in the US, many of them here in our own community. We light these candles in honor of the lives that have been lost and in honor of the survivors of these violent assaults.
People we know and love have faced this harassment and now have to calculate whether it is safe for them to leave their house to go to the store, to walk in a park.
With hearts broken open, we mourn the brokenness of our world and our contribution to its brokenness. We stand against this violence, harassment, and discrimination, and stand with the people of Asian descent in our country, in our community, and in our congregation.
We see you. We love you. We are sorry.
We confess our complicity in systems of racism and discrimination that separate us from each other, that lead to injustice, and that lead to death. Until we are all safe, none of us are safe.
Our prayer of confession today is from the 51st Psalm. Let us pray it again now:
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.
Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin.
For we know our transgressions, and our sin is ever before us.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach us wisdom in our secret hearts.
Create in us clean hearts, O God, and put new and right spirits within us.
Do not cast us away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation, and sustain in us a willing spirit. Put a new and right spirit within us. Amen.