It’s been tragic news out of America the last few weeks. That African Americans are still so discriminated against is hard to understand.
When a new NSW syllabus came in last year, I decided my Year 12s would have the works of Langston Hughes as their poetry texts. Having explored the associated history again this year – a civil war, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement – I’m left scratching my head as to how it is that long term, profound changes are still yet to take place.
That any group of people would need to stand up and say that their existence is valid is unbelievable.
And yet that is what we as humanity do to people: a group, race, gender, age range or even an individual.
We say to people that they are worthless. God says to people that they are loved.
God says that for those who believe in him, they are all on the same team. It doesn’t matter what group, race, gender, age range or who they are…
All are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Today I’m on prayers at my church and I thought I’d share an extract of my prayer on this topic:
We pray that as our world and country is so full of racism, that we would be known in the community as a church that transcends racial and cultural barriers, as we reach out to those who have not heard of or known Christ. We ask that we might exhibit the command of Jesus ‘to have love one for another’ regardless of colour of skin, country of birth, cultural practices, accent, passport or visa. That our Church would be a place where “all are one in Christ”. We pray that as people are coming back out into the community now, you would open up opportunities for us to show kindness and be worthy witnesses for Jesus. We ask that when we see these open doors, you would give us courage and clarity to share your word.
It’s a sad fact that far too often people’s thoughts about Christianity is that it’s white and American (it’s not). It’s also sad that there are many groups out there that claim to be Christians but yet live in such a racist way.
There isn’t meant to be any division in the Church. Division based on race means that the gospel (good news) of Christianity has not been understood. It means that the key moment in time that Christians look to – Jesus on the cross – has not really had any impact.
All the barriers that we build between ourselves and God, and between each other were destroyed on the day Jesus died. Anytime we build barriers we’re ignoring what Jesus achieved.
Because God was ‘for’ us, we should be ‘for’ each other. Doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from: we’re all equal before God.
I’m so glad I’ve been teaching my Year 12s about Langston Hughes and African American protest poetry for the past two years. Here’s hoping Langston’s message shapes their thinking far after the final exams are done.
I hope the same message shapes the way the Church behaves towards those of a different race to ourselves. When we let ourselves have the mind of Christ in this matter, it will.
Yours in sharing the table with all,
Image Credit: Image from bound4escape. I suddenly like this poem even more than I already did…