We have seen this scenario play out over and over again. Armed white men taking the law into their own hands, shooting and killing an unarmed Black man. But now, we have a glimmer of hope. For Ahmaud Arbery, justice has come. Three men, a father, son and neighbor, stand convicted of murder, gunning Arbery down as he was jogging in a Georgia community.

For Arbery’s family, this is a victory, but we are far from the finish line. The court systems across this country are chock-full of cases just like this. Too often, people with a fascination for guns become judge, jury and executioner.

If we are to truly change the course of gun violence and racism in this country, we must change our way of thinking. Cities have become powder kegs for violence, motivated by an insatiable need to control. We must do better. We have to do better.

This is a wake-up call, church. God is calling us to stand firm on the injustices that face our families,  particularly people of color. We must step out of our pews and sanctuaries and go out into our neighborhoods and communities. The only way many will ever know of God’s love for them is if we show them. Let’s be the church. Only then will people see hope in the midst of despair, life instead of death, joy instead of hopelessness.

We are God’s Creation, all of us, not just a select few. If we choose to keep our heads in the sand, then what happened to Ahmaud Arbery will happen again.

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)