We have all been either in the headlines or the sidelines these past two weeks—observing and participating in what will certainly become a historic moment in our countries’ history. The blood of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others joining the groans of Emmet Till in the injustice and rampant racism surrounding their deaths.
If your peace is defined by your stable walls of a home, and stores being open when you need them, and no one chanting of holding signs or crying out for justice from the streets—perhaps these weeks have been peace shattering for you. Perhaps in your heart of hearts you wish you could go back to the way things were a few weeks ago when *all* you had to worry about was a pandemic.
Perhaps you think this has nothing to do with you. But it does.
It has everything to do with us. Because sin destroys everyone involved—Satan doesn’t want to only steal, kill and destroy our black neighbors; he wants to destroy you.
When lives are stolen in the name of hatred and prejudice—Fathers ripped from the arms of little girls, and you look away in complicity, it is your humanity that is being stolen.
Your compassion went up in flames long before you saw your neighborhood Target burning to the ground.
If you see a black man killed brutality and shamelessly, but you insist you need to know “the full story”; it is your God given sense of justice that has already been put to death in your heart.
If the destruction of property bothers you more than the destruction of black lives and livelihoods; a story that I’m told is sad, but far from new—it is your heart that is bound to an unjust scale. Don’t think for a moment that this weighing of the lives of our brothers and sister of color as less than things you hold dear hasn’t destroyed you.
Do you really think that you can see someone made in the Image of God as less than—and it not affect you on the very level of the soul?
Of this and so much more, I repent.
If you think you can check your social justice box because you are “pro-life,” think again. Because God cares about ALL life womb to tomb, and your witness is defiled if you think you can care for the unborn and not care for the poor, the immigrant, the refugee, the tribe forgotten on the reservation, or your black neighbor.
Our unity is not for uniformity. Our unity is for the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood to stretch deep and wide beneath our varying perspectives and experiences; the Gospel big enough to hold us all in our deepest brokenness both white and black—
O CHURCH REPENT, the Kingdom is at hand!
Not a kingdom built on an uneasy peace won by silencing the voices screaming from injustice. Not a kingdom built on selective care of those made in the Imago Dei to those who only look like us, talk like us, or don’t directly inconvenience us. But a Kingdom in which we all can turn and be healed—healed by the scars of a brown skinned man living under authoritarian oppression, unjustly and torturously executed for crimes he did not commit.
The Pharisees were afraid of the stir he would cause; and we are to be like him. Not sacrificing “one for the many,” to keep the uneasy power and the uneasy peace. But laying down our lives, our rights; our privilege, all of it—for one another; that the bonds of unity would run deep and wide like the river of baptism washing all of us clean in the Gospel of grace.
O Church repent!
Repent of your White American Gospel; and hear the cries of the slaves in the fields singing from the depths of the suffering our ancestors put them through. Hear the stories of their suffering. Listen to their grief. See how the Lord has carried them, and love him for it even as you repent of your complicity in it.
I didn’t want to learn the truth last year when I learned that my ancestors owned slaves. I wish I could spit the taste of the shame from my mouth—of these sins I have inherited—Lord make me clean!
LORD HEAL OUR LAND! May we not wish this moment away. May we not stand idly by waiting for it to pass. May we see that we are here for such a time as this.
The church is being sifted; the differences between the sheep and the goats is becoming more and more clear. Do not listen to the voices that lull you back into your comfortable sleep. The world needs you awake.
Repent O Church!
Awake with new care and compassion! Do not be threatened by the past, only turn from it, knowing that grace is big enough for you too. You don’t have to justify the sins of the past to be set free from them. Only look them in the face, and do just the opposite: acknowledge the part that you have played in all of this, and let the grace of the Lord Jesus who has already lived perfectly for you heal your wounded soul. The Gospel is still the good news you need to hear.
O HOW WE LOVE YOU KING JESUS!
In his house there are many rooms. And in his Kingdom neither moth nor rust will destroy; nor thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19), they shall not hurt or destroy on his Holy Mountain for the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). And there every tribe and every tongue and every nation will worship him as the LORD.(Revelation 7:9)
Until that day, we bring his Kingdom here—asking God for his grace and forgiveness, repenting of the ways we have stumbled into a prejudice that blinds us from seeing our brothers and sisters for who they really are: beings made fearfully and wonderfully in the very image of a Holy God.
May our hearts be changed by God’s grace, and for his glory, amen.