At the heart of Jesus’ teaching was the idea of God’s profound and expansive love. God loved the whole world and all the people in it. God, after all, created ALL humanity in God's Divine Image. Although our Bible unconditionally supports this idea, Christians haven’t always been the most loving of groups. We have judged and excluded. We have been responsible for acts of violence (both doing them and remaining silent while others carried them out) in the name of defending the faith. Sadly, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other divisive ideologies have been given credence and strength by Christians.
In a divisive time when voices of division and the White Supremacy movement is on the rise, as Christians, we need to return (that is what repent means) to the core of the gospel – the undeniable love that God has for all people. We need to name the sin of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and any other ideology that degrades and dehumanizes.
To that end, in Confirmation Ministry, we have been learning about the sin of racism and God’s gift of diversity. We have been talking in class about these things. Last week, we listened to the experiences of Icy Mackley, an African American woman who is a long-time member of St. James. She spoke about growing up as a young girl in Birmingham, Alabama and attending the 16th Street Baptist Church there a year after the KKK bombed it. In that act of domestic terrorism, by white Christians, four girls were killed on a Sunday morning while they were at church.
This coming weekend, I will be going with our Confirmation students and Small Group leaders on a Winter Retreat. We will be watching the movie “Hidden Figures” and talking about how we can work together to end racism and celebrate diversity. I hope that our efforts will have a positive impact on all of our lives. Please pray for us as we head to Camp Omega.
I invite you in joining me this week to help reflect on the opportunities that God has given each of us to share Jesus’ love. Repent, with me, of the kind of thinking and actions that head in the opposite direction of God’s love for every person. Let us in all things follow Jesus’ path of love.
Look forward to seeing you in worship soon,