WALKING IN JESUS’ NAME: Reflecting Christ’s Response to Injustice
Story by Tom Price
Photos by Christian Rodriguez
Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. Romans 12:12
Worship leader Brittany Henry witnessed young people from Fredericksburg, VA, reacting with dangerous violence in their hometown after watching the video of George Floyd gasping for air and dying while a police officer kept his knee on his neck. “The young people were unruly; marching and cursing, blocking traffic,” said Brittany, an African American.
“We wanted to demonstrate to the area and nation that there is a righteous way to respond to the injustice and unrest,” said Brittany. “As believers, we should be the examples young people need to see as we reflect Christ. The responses of looting and violence were wicked acts.” Brittany sensed that many Christians needed a way to respond that was Christlike. She helped organize an early morning prayer walk, which provided that opportunity.
Brittany Henry leads the group in worship unto the Lord before the prayer walk began. She helped organize the event in Fredericksburg, VA.
Over 60 people, of all colors and backgrounds, gathered at Fredericksburg’s City Dock at 7am on June 3. Brittany led the group with worship songs before prayers were offered for unity. They sang, “There’s power in the Name of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain,” a song written by Gospel singer Tasha Cobbs. Jonathan Henry, Brittany’s husband, led the group a capella with his baritone voice. He sang, “Lift every voice and sing.” Scriptures were read by Chuck and Sonya Love, from Calvary Chapel Fredericksburg.
Over 60 people joined in the prayer walk through the downtown streets of Fredericksburg, VA. Pastor Andie Cork, center with hat, of Mount Peniel Church of God in Christ helps lead the way in the front.
The group continued singing as they marched the 1 ½ mile parade route through the downtown business district. When they returned to City Dock, powerful prayers were lifted to the Lord, challenging Christians to be more proactive.
After the prayer walk, many stayed to pray and seek the Lord.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
Brittany said, “The Lord did something to my heart this morning when I saw, not just black people, but an overwhelming number of white people, earnestly praying for our nation and against injustice.” Witnessing so many people, from a mostly white gathering, coming together to cry out against prejudice and pray for God’s intervention was powerful to Brittany. “To find out that there are so many white folks who are hurting for us is dramatic. It meant so much to me.”
Participants covered the event in prayer during the time of worship.
Calvary Chapel attendee and local area elementary school teacher Chuck Love was thankful for the opportunity to participate. “This world is upside down with the pandemic and now this social unrest,” offered Chuck. “The meeting today was all about Jesus and making Him known. He is where we draw our strength.” Chuck was thankful for the Calvary Chapel family who attended.
“My hope is that we were able to show folks in the community that there is a presence of the people of God who are seeking Him for resolution to the problems in our country.” Chuck does not blame the police in general. “It was sin of those four officers. We stand with our law enforcement personnel. We know that they have a tough job to do and I hate to see them being blamed for the actions of those four men.”
Pastor Andie Cork encourages other believers after the prayer walk.
Chuck’s wife, Sonya Love, does worry about her husband’s safety if he needs to go out alone at night, stating that they are never sure of how his presence will be perceived by local authorities since he is black. She rarely confesses her fear to fellow believers. “We have had difficult conversations with other Christians as we have shared a glimpse of our journey as African Americans. This has reopened up wounds for me.”
Sonya has found that many people take her concerns to heart while there are others who are insensitive to the severity of the issue. She confessed to being reinjured and felt misunderstood and devalued. However, she feels that these conversations are necessary for healing to take place. Sonya concluded, “I am open for discussion in order to help all of us come together.”
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
But as recent days have gone by, both Chuck and Sonya have received an overwhelming outpouring of love and support through phone calls and messages from many of their Caucasian friends, both believers and non-believers. “Each one of those messages of love has penetrated the deep levels of my pain. Today at the prayer walk, I was greatly overwhelmed by the numbers of people that stood in unity and demonstrated God’s love. I feel that we as the body of Christ must be the model for the world,” said Sonya. She left the prayer walk encouraged, in awe of the work of the Lord. Sonya added, “I was truly grateful for the support from my Christian family and very hopeful that the Lord will bring the necessary healing as my heart has ached over the injustices that have continued to occur.”
Participants march peacefully on the sidewalks as they leave City Dock in Fredericksburg to walk and pray through the historic downtown area.
Brittany agreed with Sonya about her concern when her husband Jonathan needs to go out alone in the evening with his duties in overseeing a local Bible college, Cornerstone College of Virginia. “Black people don’t talk about it often but sometimes we are afraid of what can happen when a police vehicle is behind me,” Brittany confessed. “Watching the video of a man’s life ended on a public street while already handcuffed has opened the eyes of many people, regardless of their color.” She added, “Followers of Jesus needed a positive way to respond to what happened to the injustice and unrest.
Friends Treneka Gross and Katie Hinton walk side by side.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35
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