Today as we pen this letter, the Christian Church is fully in the season of Advent, that season on the calendar of the Church that observes and celebrates the birth of our Lord and the coming of the Christ child into the world and into our lives.
Christmas is often referred to as “the happiest time of the year” and it is, without doubt, a season filled with song, laughter, family, friends, food and gifts, in so many ways, for so many reasons everything feels better at Christmas time.
And yet even in the midst of that reality, we are also called to remember that the first Christmas while indeed a time of rejoicing for the gift of Christ given to us, it was also a time of great sorrow.
We are told in scripture that during that first Christmas there was the slaughter of the innocent, the deaths of babies and children two years old and under, a time of lament, weeping, and sorrow.
As it was in that first Christmas season so it is today.
All over our world lives have been lost to the COVID-19 Virus, and these losses represent empty seats and aching hearts, 250,000 lives, 250,000 graves, 250,000 losses.
Here in our city today, we too mourn the death of one of our own, one of our children, one of our sons.
On Friday Casey Goodson, a young black man, entering his home after picking up a sandwich was shot and killed in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity at the hands of a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy.
While there may be information we do not have or facts we may not be privy to, here are the facts as they appear (on the day of this post - Thursday, 12/10):
- We know a young black man has had his life snatched from him.
- We know that he was not the suspect being sought.
- We know that he in no way instigated or provoked the attack that claimed his life.
- We know that this tragedy must be addressed and the truth must be made known.
As faith leaders in this City, we mourn the death of this young man and grieve the loss of Casey Goodson, we pray for his family and friends and we stand in solidarity with them in this time of loss.
We also urge a full, free, and disclosed investigation and call on our County leaders to implement such an investigation as soon as possible.
May God heal our hearts, comfort us in our grief, and steel us for the work of Justice in our Community.
Bishop Timothy J. Clarke- Sr. Pastor First Church of God
Bishop Robert J. Brennan- Catholic Dioceses of Columbus
Bishop Frank M. Reid- 3rd Episcopal District of the A.M.E. church
Pastors Rich Nathan and Julia and Eric Pickerill - Vineyard Church of Columbus
Dr. Victor M.Davis - Trinity Baptist Church
Ryan Lowery from Dwell Community Church