Striking images hit me this morning. The recent string of cultural and racial clashes in our nation, the senseless killing of police officers, along with the ever-present terrorism world-wide have me wondering, “How can this be changed?”
Who will stop shouting, stop dividing and begin reconciling? There’s one answer – the Church will do this. She’s made for this. The church was birthed in racial strife, where Jews and Gentiles raged against one another until the gospel drew us closer together.
The Apostle showed us that reconciling the races is embedded in the Gospel. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
I prayed this morning surrounded by Hispanic, Chinese, African-American and many other races. I worshiped the Savior today with the backdrop of a group of students on their way to camp – too diversified to name the backgrounds. I called our congregation to prayer, and saw black and white, arms around each other, kneeling and weeping for the senselessness our culture, asking, “Lord, how long?”
We called the church to this. “When the cultural clashes are amplified, the prayer we pray must be intensified.” And pray we did. Prayers of repentance for racist attitudes. Prayers of compassion and grace for the families of the fallen. Prayers of protection for our police, and prayers of hope for our community.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said that the 11 o’clock hour is the “most segregated hour in this nation.” He had a point. We’ve must move beyond that – and we must do it now.
And once we’re beyond the walls of the church building, wherever we worship, we’ve got to live out the grace and love we talk about when we gather.
The church united will be more powerful than words, laws or protests. It’s already happening, if you’ll see it. And if it’s not happening where you worship, take the first step to change your church culture.