In our most recent Prayer Gathering, we discussed our desire as a community to encourage ongoing dialogue in favor of racial justice and against hatred and racism. I'd like to say thank you to Maron for setting the table and praying for us all to stay in the room and engage with our brothers and sisters. The way that she and Ephraim described lingering at the table, building authentic relationships and sharing community is something we can all be eager to do because of our love for each other and our trust in Jesus.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35
As we engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ, there will likely be occasions when we encounter some who still yet deny or resist the fact that racism is an urgent and extensive barrier to justice for all Americans. Such conversations will be difficult and uncomfortable, but God has already given us the armor we need to be champions of justice.
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17
Let's take up the sword of the Spirit and be ready to encounter the enemy who wishes to keep us divided. We will stand unified in love and strengthened by our diversity. We will not back down or give in, because:
[Love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
God has given us His Word so that we can stand our ground, knowing that justice is His righteous cause.
Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Psalm 45:6-7
Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven's Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Amos 5:14-15
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Isaiah 42:3-4
God has told us that all human beings reflect His image,
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
and by ensuring justice for those in need, we truly know Him.
But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn't that what it means to know me? says the Lord. Jeremiah 22:15-16
God hears the cry for justice, and if we love God, so should we also hear it.
The Lord said, What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Genesis 4:10
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:17-18
Our ancestors took a crucial step toward justice when they freed the nation's slaves, but God knows we have more ground to cover regarding race relations to truly fulfill His purposes.
It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. Philemon 1:15-17
These are difficult conversations, and sometimes we don't know exactly what to say. But our very souls know God's intent,
I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33
and the Spirit will awaken and remind us.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative that is, the Holy Spirit he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26
It may be true that we don't yet know the path out of systemic racism, but we know God will light each step as we follow Him and walk toward justice.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Now is the time to get in the room and stay in the room, for the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ,
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
because God is also showing up for this crucial conversation.
The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!ark 1:15