I am sitting in my study on a rainy fall Seattle morning. It’s the morning after the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri has poured gasoline on racial tensions in America. Social media is on fire with the voices of everyone’s opinion on the facts as they see them. The immigration situation is doing the same thing. Everyone has an opinion and a platform to give immediate vent to what they are thinking on these subjects.
I am not expressing an opinion on either Ferguson or the immigration situation. I think there is something bigger at stake.
What gets lost in all the inflamed rhetoric from both sides is the people. And Satan wins. He has come to steal, kill and destroy and one way he does that is to pit one people group against another. He is doing that again right now and in our nation.
I am a pastor with people in our church from over 30 different nations. At a time like this I have to be concerned about how all of this makes them feel. Unless you are part of a minority population I am afraid you and I have no way to even comprehend the cumulative effect of a lifetime of glances, slights, stares, jokes, slurs or outright hatred suffered through the years.
It just so happens that we are wrapping up a sermon series in our church on Ephesians: Reclaiming Our Identity. And over the past three months we have been immersed in the reality of the Body of Christ in each of its local expressions…how that Jesus’ death and resurrection has torn down all dividing walls. The Body of Christ cannot be divided and be true to our calling. Paul specifically targets division based on gender, racial or socio-economic issues.
So what are we to do, and how are we to respond to the Ferguson and/or immigration issues? I believe our only choice is to respond in the opposite spirit of the world. But what might that be?
I am not even sure what this needs to look like, but I am wondering if we don’t need to set aside time in our services this Sunday and focus on racial reconciliation. Would this be the time to obey Jesus’ instructions to His disciples to humble ourselves to each other and wash the feet of those in the congregation who have suffered at the hands of the majority?
Daniel had no problem repenting over the sins of Israel as if they were his own. Maybe it is time for those of us in the majority in America to do the same thing. I believe it would represent a practical step of obedience for our congregation based on all we have learned about Christ’s body in Ephesians. If the Word is true we must obey.
I will trust the Holy Spirit to make it meaningful in the heavenlies (Ephesians 3:10) and in all of our lives. I just know we have to do something. We cannot be silent.