Greater Seattle Filipino-American SDA Church

"Nothing is Impossible with God"

A letter from the Greater Seattle FilAm SDA Young Adults

We hope that you will be able to read this letter in its entirety, with an open heart and understanding. During this past couple of weeks, we really took the time to reflect on the state of our country and how God calls us to act in these times.

 

As a result of racism ingrained in our society, our early church leaders had difficulties addressing racial problems in our church. In Ellen G. White’s sermon at the 1890’s General Conference, she stresses that “We should be careful not to strengthen prejudices that ought to have died just as soon as Christ redeemed the soul from the bondage of sin.” {S.W. 15.1}

 

Jesus began His ministry aiming to establish a new Kingdom on earth. Through the ethic of "Justice in the Love of God" He deliberately crossed entrenched social lines of prejudice, pulling into His circle those the system had pushed out. Jesus also taught many parables on how to treat one another. For example: “The Lost Sheep matters vs. The ninety-nine and all sheep matter,” “The Lost Coin matters vs. all coins matter,” “The Prodigal Son matters vs. all sons matter,” and now we see “Black Lives Matter vs. All lives matter.” It is not that one is more important than the other. It simply means that one needs to be tended to at that moment. In His Sermon on the Mount, He restructured the social order by blessing the low and rebuking the high. He promises His eternal Kingdom to those who live amongst the lowest levels of the world and warning those on top who will not receive His gift of eternal life. Making clear His mission, He announced, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. To proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 

The Gospel is not only something to believe, but is a transformative experience. Isaiah 1:17 states, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” We have a responsibility to be alongside those who have been oppressed. We have a responsibility to manifest the Kingdom of God. As an SDA, that is to be our prophetic call. The Gospel is a way of life, with the Kingdom come that is present in us now. We do not retreat, we will stand in the midst of the flames, we will get eaten by lions, by not giving an inch in the face of oppression because we are in the righteousness of God, through Him, who loves us.

 

What is intended to be peaceful protests, represent a call to action for racial equality and police accountability. The protests call for the reallocation of money from overfunded police departments to programs like education and affordable housing. A few of the Young Adults went to protests last week. What we experienced at the protest was the opposite of how it is played on TV.

 

Yes, there was property damage. However, that is not a reason to dismiss the message of Black Americans. There is a real problem of racism in the U.S. legislative and police systems. Its origins are in slavery and our laws reinforce it by targeting communities of color. There is a reason history is repeating itself. It is known that when a child is unloved and continuously neglected, anger and frustration may manifest. Even adults will do this, it is a natural response for all human beings. The needs of our Black brothers and sisters have been neglected and our system has continuously failed to give them justice. When they ask for love and support peacefully, they have been met with denial, rejection, and violence. We will not excuse a child who is unloved because they are acting out, neither shall we excuse the cries of our Black brethren

 

Please. We must see past the property damage so that we can address the real issues in our society. When we read the story of Jesus angrily flipping tables in the synagogue, is our reaction, “Jesus shouldn’t have done that” or do we now understand the seriousness of the transgressions? Property is not nearly as important to God compared to the holiness of His temple. Lest we forget that our bodies are His temple, the bodies we see being harmed by police are also His temple. The transgressions in this country have gone on for far too long. This is very serious. We must hear the pleading of our fellow children of God and take action to ensure that things change once and for all.

 

We are scared, worried, and angry, but the Lord calls us to love courageously. So what can we do to answer His call?

 

We encourage everyone to continually learn about our country’s history through the perspectives of Black Americans and different minority groups. Listen to the stories of our neighbors, and continue to engage with others having these important conversations. As we navigate through these troubling times, let us continue forward with being empathetic to one another. Jesus’ work on Earth revolved around opening our eyes to systematic issues affecting not just us, but also our neighbors. Even 2,000 years after His death and resurrection, we’re faced with the same division, oppression, and inequality. Let us continually invite the Holy Spirit to guide us as we challenge ourselves to understand and guide us as we serve our community. We have included a selection of powerful resources to visit within this letter and invite everyone to give them a look.

 

Sincerely,

     Matthew Eusoya, Alexus Miran, Cordell Pierce, Rachelle Pierce, Emily Ngonevolalath, David Cabbat, Gladys Nadal, Mya Johnson, Malcolm Morgan, Artgen Clemencia, Louie Tayag, Zanneta Tayag