- Phone: (612) 338-6500
- Mailing Address: 1501 West 54th Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55419
Divided or United? In recent days our nation has witnessed the cowardly actions of those who promote hatred, bigotry, prejudice and a message of racial superiority. This is not the Good News Jesus preached. St. Paul once challenged a church struggling to get along and set apart their differences: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) God has no patience with those who dehumanize others and seek to divide those his son died to unite. Any ideology based on accentuating differences between people is sin. The Bible tells us that all are created in the image of God and have intrinsic value.
But we must also not be too hasty to condemn. Yes, we must denounce the cowardly actions of those who promote this dangerous ideology. But we must also examine our own hearts asking God to search us and root out any sense of superiority we too may be harboring.
The prophet Isaiah told the people of Israel that it was not enough to believe the right things or go through the motions of religion, like fasting. Instead, he said, faith must be lived out. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…, to set the oppressed free… to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them…? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you… Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I” (Isa. 58:6-9).
As your pastor I try to avoid politics; I am simply not informed enough to know what policies are wise or possible on a wide range of issues. But I do believe that the church can and should speak out on questions of morality. And there is simply no room for racism in the kingdom of God.
So what should we do? First we can pray; pray that God would open the eyes of those blinded by hate; pray for leaders who can bring us together not drive us apart; pray for those who now feel they must live in fear; and pray that God would transform our own hearts.
Second, reach out across the lines that often divide; to those who don’t look like us, sound like us or even believe what we believe, but, like us, are created in the image of God. And listen to those who may be hurting or afraid.
And finally, speak out. Times like these require leadership and what better place for it to come from than the church. As reconcilers (2 Cor. 5), we are committed to tearing down the walls that divide and engaging the world with the love of Christ.