To the Church:
I feel like we need a team huddle. I'm pretty much the farthest thing from an athlete, and I never was on a sports team that did a huddle, but I keep having this vision of a Christian huddle. One where we'd gather around each other, arm in arm, and try to figure out what the needs are, where some of us are weak and hurting, and where others of us can step in and carry the weight for a while. So I'm asking you, gather around for a few moments so we can talk.
I come to you as your sister in Christ, a white sister who sees the pain of my black brothers and sisters and cannot stay silent any longer. I come to you from a place of humility, and trepidation, and sadness, and anger. The melting pot of emotions our country is feeling right now seems to have settled in my heart and is stirring something I cannot ignore.
If you know me, you know that I express myself through words and through art. When I study a passage of Scripture I love or really want to put to memory or heart, the first thing that I do is grab a pen and paper and begin to draw it. Isaiah 1:17 is one of those verses that I would not hesitate to letter. It fits all my qualifications for an ideal piece: it has short phrases, punchy verbs that can be emphasized, and is less than 20 words. In short-- it's catchy. Micah 6:8 is similar, and a verse I have lettered many times: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
But I have to tell you, this morning, I could not pick up my pen. I could not make these words into an attempt at beauty, because not only are they already beautiful without my lettering-- they are commands, to us. Friends, brothers, sisters, I am pleading with you: these verses are not sweet phrases we stick over our children's beds or set as phone background screens. They are the words of our God, a God who commands, not suggests, us to seek justice. Who commands that we defend and plead for those who need our help, that we lay down our privilege for the lives of others in the fashion that Jesus taught us to do.
We need to take this to the Lord in prayer. We have got to take it to Him in prayer. As I have been studying what it means to pray like I really mean it through my Devoted study, I realize daily how much I desperately need prayer. I need God so desperately. We need God so desperately. Our country, our world needs God so desperately. If you don't have the words to pray, start simply by answering these questions:
- What do you know to be true about God?
- What are you asking God to do?
- How do you know that God can do it?
God hears the cries of His people. We have got to approach Him as though He is our only hope, because He IS our only hope. Pray alone, pray together, pray always and without ceasing. Praise God for who He is, for being a God to hears His people. Pray for reconciliation, for healing, for justice, for peace. Pray for those you know, and those you don't. Pray for a heart that breaks over what His heart breaks. Proclaim God's power and might, who is capable of far more than we could ask or imagine.
If you're white, and you don't know what to do besides pray-- now's the chance to learn. Let's be proactive, seeking out our brothers and sisters who are hurting, and listen. Listen to their stories, their experiences, their fears. Let's approach this from the posture of students: we have got to learn what the needs are of the individuals in our lives, and where we can step in and use the privilege we have to do good in the name of Jesus. We need to stand in our pulpits and address the uncomfortable pain. We need to open our doors to those who need to be heard, and hear them. We need to take a hard observation of the places where we, as individuals and as churches, have privilege, and see where we can break down that privilege and repurpose it for the sake of the Kingdom.
Ya'll, I drove around with an expired tag and broken tail light on my car for almost three years. THREE YEARS. (Daddy, I'm sorry!) Did I live in fear of being pulled over? Yes. But in reality, my white girl self was only ever afraid of getting a ticket, or in my worst case scenario situation, a revoked license. Never in my life have I feared that being pulled over would mean losing my life. That's privilege, and I can do something with it.
We need to pray. We have to pray. And we also have to act, with our minds, our voices, our votes, our hands and feet. Scripture commands us to seek and do justice-- God Almighty commands us to not be silent. It is going to be hard, and it is going to be work, and it is going to be uncomfortable. This is okay. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13) We need to lay down our lives, our privilege, our safety, our comfort, for our brothers and sisters who are hurting. We need to mourn with those who mourn. We need to ask that God's kingdom would come, that His will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
On three, break.