So far we have discussed:
There is no denying that the racial journey has been long in this country. As I reflect on this discussion, I’m drawn to the opening words of this song inspired by ‘The Help’:
It’s gonna be a long, long journey.
It’s gonna be an uphill climb
It’s gonna be a tough fight.
It’s gonna be some lonely nights,
but I’m ready to carry on.
I believe that the worst of America’s racial injustice is over. I do acknowledge, however, that no deep seed of bitterness or hate goes away without intentional and continuous confrontation.
What I mean is that we do not grow in community by pretending that racism never happened and encouraging people to get over it or stop talking about. Seriously, what intelligent person would say to a Jew, “Just get over the Holocaust and pretend it never happened?” Yet that is sometimes the message that is delivered to African-Americans in this country, where countless numbers of their ancestors were raped, forced into slavery, or murdered for no other reason than the color of their skin.
So I say that we need to remember, keep accurate records in our history books, and teach it to our children. The purpose is not to perpetuate the hate, but to acknowledge the truth, and consider how far we have come as a people. We want to appreciate where we are at this point in history and how far we still need to go.
I also feel it important to retain this information so that we do not fall into a false reality that we have somehow arrived. Again, the divisions among American people are still great, and in many cases the same lines that divide race, also divide social, economic classes. We all need to open our eyes and see what is going on in other neighbors, families, and communities that are not like our own. How else can we consider the needs of our sisters or brothers from another race or ethnicity, or social and economic class (Phil 2:3-4)? What does Jesus reveal about our relationships in the following prayer to God the Father?
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the disciples] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have loved me (John 17:20-23 NIV).”
In this prayer, Jesus is saying, the way that people will know we are his disciples is by how we live in complete unity among all his people. Jesus is saying that we live the gospel by being the reconciled people that he came to save and reflecting the very unity that is between him and his father.
God has called us and yet we are called to pursue him. In the same manner, that we intentionally love and pursue God, we must intentionally and loving pursue relationships with those of other tribes and nations that have been called into God’s kingdom (Rev 5:9).
We are living proof! I am the living proof of God’s gospel and so are you.
© Natasha S. Robinson