The outrage at the murder of George Floyd led to protest against racism and white supremacy around the world, including here in Christchurch – where 500 people flowed into Cathedral Square on a cold and wet holiday weekend.
Trinity Methodist Theological College shared a profound Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing, and issued a Statement on Black Lives Matter and Racism, joining “in the grief and outrage happening around the globe protesting white supremacy and racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd (and two other victims, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery) in the United States of America. As a theological institution of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, we affirm that black lives matter because racism is antithetical to the Gospel imperatives and the life and witness of the incarnated Word. We further express our indignation at the abuse of the symbols and sources of our faith by the President of the United States of America and right-wing conservative Christians to legitimize and perpetuate white supremacy in the name of God.
“As Kiwis, we also recognize that white supremacy and racism are embedded in our history, socio- economic relations, and governance. Institutional racism continues to demonize and criminalize the Māori community and people of colour. In a racially biased criminal justice system, the arming of police is always colour blind, and hence a threat to the life and property of people of colour. Our theologies, spiritual practices, and church polity are also infested with this deadly virus of racism.
“We denounce all ideologies, theologies, and practices of supremacy, and reiterate our commitment to eradicate them from our churches and society through our spiritual, academic, pastoral, and political witness.
“We declare our solidarity with all those who mourn, lament, resist, and protest racism and police brutality.
“We celebrate the lives sacrificed at the altar of white supremacy and racism, and affirm our hope and faith in the agency and power of the underdogs to create a world devoid of economic, racial, gender and ecological injustice.”
A Litany for Those not Ready for Healing
by Yolanda Pierce
Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.
Let us not rush to offer a bandaid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.
Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.
Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.
Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…someone’s beloved son.
Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.
Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.
Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.
Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.
Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.
Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described him as a demon.
Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.
Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.
Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.
Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.
Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.
Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground
Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.