by Wayne Stapleton
NAB VP of Cross-Cultural Engagement
Human responses to the coronavirus pandemic have been broad and extensive. Some have been beautiful acts of service and sacrifice that reflect God’s common grace. Others have been hate-filled and angry. Regarding the latter, Asians have experienced a rising wave of oppression, ostensibly on the part of those who place blame for the virus at the feet of their entire racial group. One report lists 1,000 incidents of racism against Asian Americans in just the last two weeks of March.
Because of this recent rash of Asian racism, a group called the Asian American Christian Collaborative released a statement denouncing xenophobia, asking believers to stand “in solidarity with victims” and directing “Christians to speak out and make changes in their churches, schools, and communities.”
This statement has been signed by more than 3,000 signatories, from prominent Asian American Christian leaders to the heads of major evangelical entities like Fuller Seminary and World Relief. Christ-followers are taking the opportunity to prophetically speak against hatred against Asians, using this moment for gospel solidarity. It is the gospel of Jesus that unites people from disparate backgrounds into “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).
NAB brothers and sisters, let us join the sentiment in denouncing racism against Asians. As followers of Jesus we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Jesus taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan, neighbors don’t always look like us. Let us use this moment for mission and formation by bearing witness to God’s love and concern for Asians, standing in solidarity with Asian believers who are protesting this violence, and by leading pulpit prayers calling for the Lord’s protection and the love of the church over Asians. In times like these, we have an opportunity to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
On Resurrection Sunday, because of what the empty tomb represents for all humanity, let’s lead our congregations, praying prayers of unity and love that denounce hatred against Asians and all people.