Seeking Justice Together

By Bob Osborne on June 15, 2020

 

Watching the video of a White police officer keeping his knee on the neck of a Black man, while hearing George Floyd repeatedly struggle to say, “I can’t breathe,” as he died of asphyxia, has galvanized righteous outrage against the violence and injustice Black Americans face in the US—an outrage that has broadened, deepened and spread around the world.

Together, we at Serge want to live out our shared commitment to, ‘laying down our lives together for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.’ And we recognize that silence is complicity in the face of injustice.

The gospel of the righteousness of God requires us to openly and clearly join God’s call to work for justice in our culture and around the world. Christ’s work on the cross not only reconciles us to God (Colossians 1:19-23), it calls us to express our love for him as his beloved children by obeying his commands (John 14:15). The greatest of these commands compels us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (cf. Matthew 34-40). Because, “Love does no harm to a neighbor…” and is, “…the fulfillment of the law…” (Romans 13:10), Serge has always been and remains committed to, “seeking out the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and unreached through holistic ministry.”

In this moment of anguish and cultural change we join in lament, and are listening to our Black brothers and sisters, and to people of color who live under the weight of long centuries of systemic injustice in the US. We join with Christians across the nation in expressing our hope and prayer that through the Gospel we can find solutions that will bring reconciliation, renewal and peace.

We hear The Reverend Dr. Irwyn Ince as he pastors in the Grace DC Church Network and leads the Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission when he says:

The victory of God is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, guaranteeing that God is going to unite all things in Christ. Any victory we seek that is not rooted in that victory is idolatry.

To be clear, the victory of God in Jesus Christ ensures that injustice and oppression, biased policing practices, racist ideas, and racialized violence falling upon Black bodies will not have the final word. But it is far more than an immunity against unjust treatment. It is the presence of unity; mutual love where contraries have been reconciled, hostility has been put to death, and the freedom for all to flourish is present. This understanding actually enables us to persevere in pursuing justice with hope. We believe that day is coming, and desire to see God give us a taste of it now.

As we listen to Dr. Ince and to many other Black leaders and people of color, we must confess that any progress in racial justice worked for by those of us in the privileged majority has proven to be shockingly insufficient. Our zeal for justice has been exposed as tepid, and our hunger for progress has been much too easily satisfied. We confess, we are only beginning to grow a deeper understanding of all the systemic ways racial injustice has functioned to preserve our cultural privilege.

We want to acknowledge that even as we strive to live out our mission globally, we also carry with us the brokenness of the North American churches that historically have sent us.

We are committed to listening to minority voices within our organization that have graciously and courageously joined with us—a largely White organization—to learn how to better care for and empower missionaries who are not from the majority White church. We are convicted that we are still only beginning the long road to expressing, both in representation and leadership, the full and beautiful diversity of the North American church. We embrace the truth that reflecting God’s heart for justice within our organization will require change.

When we as believers fail because of our cultural blindness, human weakness, or continuing struggle with sin, the Gospel requires us to admit our faults, and to turn from our sin and complacency to Christ. Again, we seek forgiveness in repentance, and to rejoin his kingdom work that seeks truth and justice. We move forward with renewed resolve, trusting in the power of the Spirit to change our lives and the lives of those we serve.

Serge believes that the righteousness of God requires us to seek justice in our culture and around the world. We know that true change begins at a heart level. It moves through the faith of repentant believers who join God’s mission of justice to bring his truth and mercy. And we pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

This prayer constitutes a commitment to listen, to mourn, and to lament with the Black community in the US over systemic racism—to join in solidarity with all Christians here and around the world—to not stop working until God’s justice is expressed in the righteous reign of Jesus Christ in us, through us, and to us. Come, Lord Jesus.

We invite you to hear our dear friend Dr. Ince in a free webinar “The Beautiful Community,” on Friday, June 26th from 1:00 to 2:00 PM EDT, and to join us in learning how to respond as we seek the change our community and world needs.

With Humility,

The Executive Leadership of Serge
Bob Osborne, Executive Director
Josiah Bancroft, Senior Director of Mission
Matt Allison, Senior Director of Operations

 

Bob Osborne

About Bob Osborne

Bob Osborne is the Executive Director of Serge. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Bob’s career began in Africa with relief and development organizations including UNICEF and CARE. Upon returning to the U.S., Bob served as Executive Director of the Charlottesville, Va., affiliate of Love INC and then as Director of Missions and Ministries at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Bob joined Serge in 2002 as U.S. Director and was appointed Executive Director in 2005. Bob and his wife Nancy have two grown children and in his spare time, he loves to garden and play bocce ball.