Recently, the city of Baltimore made National and International news because a young man named Freddie Gray died while in the custody of Baltimore City Police. His death sparked a diverse coalition of peaceful protestors seeking to draw attention to the injustice and bring about a better, safer Baltimore.
Unfortunately, others seeking to take advantage of the civil unrest began to engage in rioting, looting, and other acts of violence. In an effort to bring about stability, our mayor called for the National Guard. I would never have believed that I would live to see my city occupied by military forces riding around in Humvees and carrying heavy artillery. I was in awe of the people who were immediately cleaning up their own and others neighborhoods, even the night of the rioting after the violence was contained.
This state of civil unrest provided us with an opportunity to have important conversations with our students and each other about how to engage when injustice and violence is happening around us. This month our Chapel theme is “God is Kings of Kings!” In these times, we are comforted to know that God is the ultimate authority, that he is a just God and that his justice will one day prevail. Thank you for all of your prayers for the city of Baltimore and for our school. Thankfully, our community avoided any major damage. Chaplain Elita Barnhart encouraged us in Chapel to have eyes to see the signs of hope, the signs of God’s kingdom, even in the midst of the turmoil. As watched the news, I was in awe of the people who were immediately cleaning up their own and others neighborhoods, even the night of the rioting after the violence was contained. On Facebook, I saw neighbors band together to deter looters from destroying local businesses. What I am most proud of is the way Baltimore clergy crossed denominational lines to band together to mitigate the violence. Though life is back to relative calm here, we are only at the beginning of a long process of addressing the divide between the police and the community. Please keep our city in your prayers.