August 15, 2017 | +Philip Jones

Many of us are still reeling from this weekend’s events in Charlottesville. As you turn on the news, login to social media, and talk in the break room and around the kitchen table, you can hear and see various stages of grief: anger, denial, and depression.

And it is right that we should grieve. In Charlottesville we saw front and center once again the violence of racism, and the lie of Satan that says that a person’s value is based on the color of the skin, their heritage, or their station in life. This is antithetical to God’s word that tells us that we are all made in the image of God, all known and all loved. Our world is broken by sin and our fellow citizens suffer that brokenness as well – both those who seek power by means of intimidation and violence and those who are on the receiving end of such abuse.

Those who place their primary identity in their race or nationality or political agenda will ultimately be disappointed. All who place their identity in anything other than God will be disappointed. There is a call for all of us to find our identity in Christ, to know that we are fully known and fully loved. To receive anew Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. To ask God for the grace and courage to follow His commandments.

As we grieve, I urge you not to despair. In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul tells us “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” There is hope. Not a rose-colored glasses hope. Not a far-off hope that says one-day things will be made right but offers little solace for today. The hope that God gives us is an anchor for the soul. He is present, He is with us, He is at work in the world.

As you go about your day in your workplace, your neighborhood, and your home, remember that where you go the Kingdom of God goes with you. His is a kingdom characterized by peace and by healing. His is a rule measured by love.

My prayer for our Mission Society and for our country is this prayer for social justice from the Book of Common Prayer:

“Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

+Philip Jones is the Lead Bishop of the Anglican Mission in America and also serves as Rector of All Saints Dallas. Philip was born and raised in Dallas. He practiced law in Waco, Texas for seven years before he was called to the ministry. He has led churches in Marshall and El Paso, Texas and St. Andrew’s Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. His wife, Claudia Clinton Jones, is from Burnet, Texas. They have seven children and thirteen grandchildren.