In these times, we need leaders (in and outside the church) to move beyond the talk of being non-racist to actively challenging a society to be anti-racist. We need truth spoken in tough love. We want to believe that we live in a “color-blind” world and that racial bias has been overcome. It hasn’t. Racism takes on many forms, some obvious, others hidden. James Baldwin said, “We are trapped in history and history is trapped in us.” How can we get out of the trap of history?
Not by preaching moralism. Moralism with its “should not’s, stop it’s, and be better” declarations assume that humans have it within themselves to overcome their own tendency toward racism. That’s not working.
We preach Jesus. We proclaim the one who disrupted history with His coming in the flesh. It is only the power of Christ working through us that reconciliation can be a reality. As we are reminded that God works through Jesus, “to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:20-23).
In Jesus we commit our lives to the hope that God is working in the world despite the principalities and powers. And as your pastor, I encourage you to speak truth in love and act with boldness towards a world in need of God’s reconciling presence.
As Apostle Paul reminds us, “We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Equipped with the armor of God’s love, stand your ground in the face of racism, speak bravely over the screams of hate, and shine God’s light against the forces of darkness.