Don’t Be Okay
So, as many of you know, this month of April 2018 marks 50 years since one of the most tragic events in American history. It was April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee — 50 years ago.
And one of the things among countless things that makes that event so tragic is that in the 50 years since his death it can often feel like we’ve not made that much progress as a nation when it comes to race.
Now there have been good things, and we don’t want to ignore those things, but here we are 50 years later and the racial consciousness and racial divisions in our country are still intense; the radical integration that Martin Luther King dreamed about is still not a reality. And it’s almost like we’re stuck.
Everybody knows there’s still a race problem in our country, and if not in our country, then certainly in the Evangelical world where so many churches remain mono-ethnic. That is a problem. That’s a problem here. And it’s easy to talk about the problem, but the real question is how do we change things. Where do we even start?
And so here’s my exhortation. It’s simple: Do not acquiesce.
Do not settle. Do not give up on things looking differently than they do right now — because the greatest temptation when it gets overwhelming and hard is to just throw our hands up and quit.
A few weeks ago we talked about hope, and we talked about how the worst enemy of hope is just accepting the world as it is right now — which is easy to do, especially when you’re tired, and you’re busy, and you’re just trying to make it through each day. We can tend toward surrendering to the brokenness. We can tend toward being okay with things that are not okay.
And I’m saying NO. I want us to say no, and to keep saying no. Because change is not going to happen overnight. We have to be committed to this over the long-haul. We have to be committed to sowing new seeds, and to doing what we can do at the local level, and the personal level, so that our lives and our church reflect the heart of God for all peoples. That is what we want. And that’s why we must pray.
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, how many times and in how many ways do we get it wrong? We think wrong; and feel wrong; and act wrong, and most wrong of all, we think that we have it all right. Father we confess that we have harbored sin in our hearts. Whether by racism or apathy, whether by hostility or hopelessness, whether by pride or cynicism, we have not looked at one another with the eyes of Jesus. We have not had compassion on one another. Instead, we’ve spoken when we should have been silent; and we’ve been silent when we should have spoken; we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. And so, above all, Father, we are desperate for your mercy. Have mercy on us, we ask, as indeed it’s only by your mercy that we can come to you now in silent confession.
Now, Father, make your light shine upon us by making us remember the good news of Jesus. That we are not dead, but alive; we are not lost, but found; we are not your enemies, we are your sons and daughters — all because Jesus lived and died for us in our place, and because he is raised from dead in victory. It’s in his name we pray, amen.