Last summer and fall, many area churches posted Black Lives Matter signs on their property as a statement of solidarity with those who are most impacted by racism in our country. You may recall that the sign caused a bit of stir when someone who was visiting our community tried to remove the sign to destroy it, out of a (misguided, we would say) feeling that churches shouldn’t be involved in such issues. That incident was troubling, but we prevailed in that the sign stayed and the message, which is in line with our congregation’s understanding of the Gospel, was promoted in our village.
Unfortunately, sometime in the middle of December, the sign was removed. We don’t know when, by whom, or even why, though we may speculate on that last issue. As a church, following Jesus means we’re called to seek to forgive someone who takes a sign that belongs to us and attempts to silence us on an issue that is still critically important in our world. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, of course, and doesn’t simply mean “it’s okay.” It might be fruitful to be able to talk with the person who took the sign, in an attempt to reach an understanding of their motivation. In the meantime, we reiterate the statement here: Black lives matter. Of course, ALL lives matter, but in a world that seems less committed to justice and opportunity and indeed survival for those whose skin is darker, it is critical that the church affirm that black lives matter. And don’t be surprised if a new sign pops up one of these days.