[April 30, 2015 Update – Rev. Lynette Thomas shares her experiences ministering in Baltimore before and after the riots.]

I am in prayer for justice and peace in the city of Baltimore and throughout North America related to recent events that have been so concerning. As Wesleyans we seek the kind of racial reconciliation that is only possible by the Spirit, and we are concerned about innocent people suffering, whether it be those without power or a voice, or those who would misuse the powers of violence to suppress people in need, or incite unrest and lawlessness.

We are praying for and standing with Wesleyans in Baltimore and nearby, as they seek to bring the love and peace of Jesus Christ in the midst of chaotic situations. I call on our people to pray for this matter, and to go further in examining our own hearts that we may love the Lord our God with all our heart mind and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves. We stand with the local pastors of Baltimore who have denounced the rioting and looting that a small group of offenders have engaged in. That is not the path of rightful change.

I ask that we all take time to pause and engage first in prayer, and then in the righteous, reconciling lifestyle of love that Jesus Christ himself modeled for us that is the result of surrendered prayer around these matters. Only the Spirit moving through us can make it so, and spread true hope and holiness across our land. May our communities be somehow made new in a season when too many despair that change is not possible.

In times like this, we wonder, with the prophet Micah, what does the LORD require of us in response? “He has showed you” the prophet says, “what is good… To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). Please pray with me so we might justly act, mercifully love, and humbly walk with God in these difficult days.

-Dr Jo Anne Lyon

General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church