What The World Needs Now
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” -Matthew 25:40
The past few days have been devastating in our nation. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, have been a call to action for people to stop the hatred, racial profiling, and violence against African Americans. Tragically, some of those demonstrations have turned violent and some individuals have taken them as an opportunity to accelerate racial conflict and enmity. There are truly evil individuals who desire to split our nation and create another civil war. This is scary and sad and hard to walk through.
The stress and threat of Covid-19 has not abated, and this new conflict and chaos has the potential to drive us deeper into despair and fear. In those moments of anguish and overwhelm, I encourage you to continue to breathe. Breathe IN the Holy Spirit, the power of God to fill your lungs and give you life. Then breathe OUT, forgiveness, grace and the peace of Christ upon yourself and upon others. I am reminded that Jesus, on the cross, cried out, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34. I feel thankful that even in that moment of pain and anguish, Jesus was still in the process of loving the haters, loving and forgiving his murderers. God’s gift of forgiveness and grace, however, does not stop us from working to change the systems of racism and hatred prevalent in our communities and in our country.
The passage from Matthew 25, reminds us that whatever we do to each other, we are doing to Jesus. How is God asking you to care for the vulnerable, the weak, the hurting, the hungry, the sick, those in prison, the black and brown neighbor among you? Whatever we do to each other, we are doing to God. Let’s love each other. Let’s forgive each other. Let’s work to lift up each other, not tear each other down. Let’s fight for justice, righteousness and peace for ALL people. Let’s use our voices and our words for empathy and compassion, not hatred, rage and destruction.
One of the most important gifts we can give each other is to listen. Our son, Paul, is constantly pulling my chin toward his face so that I look at him when he is talking. I try to tell him that I am still listening and I can still hear him even when my eyes are not on his face, but that isn’t enough for him. My focused, undivided attention is what he really needs in that moment. Perhaps the most important job we can do at this time is to listen to the cries of our African American brothers and sisters. Maybe we don’t need to have answers, but we need to have compassion and attentiveness to hear their stories and believe their experience and be changed so that we then can become change-makers.
If you would like to participate further in conversations about racial reconciliation and deeper understanding of how our country can heal the wound of racism, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I plan to start a weekly book study on the book, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James H. Cone. I would love for you to join me in this important conversation and opportunity to acknowledge the pain that our nation has inflicted and find ways to move forward in reconciliation and healing for a new future.
Please connect with these links to pray with our Presbyterian brothers and sisters for healing these deep wounds of racism:
Holy Spirit, come and dwell among us. Give us your presence and your power. Shake the church into action and spread your love to places of pain and hurt. Heal our land from the sin of racism and violence. Give us ears to hear and hearts that are changed. Amen.