This week our nation has experienced multiple tragic events. We mourn with the families of deceased loved ones, and we pray for comfort and hope amidst the present darkness. Death is especially hard to process when it happens needlessly. We long for justice to roll down like a river, and for the Lord to manifest his righteousness and peace in our country.
As a church our vision is to increasingly become a diverse family of disciples. This week's events have reminded us that our country is still very racially divided. Our pursuit is not going to come easy. Perspectives and opinions are currently spewing all over social media. Such opinions tend to place folks into camps. Most people who express an opinion do so without measured wisdom or a due consideration of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Often we identify with an opinion base more than we identify with our Christian sister. While each of us is entitled to our own opinion, we need to remember a few things as we respond to this week's events:
1) All of us have a subjective cultural perspective. None of us see things objectively. We're all shaped by our upbringing and experiences. This ought to cause us to be humble and meek in expressing our opinions, and it should also lead us to listen more and talk less, especially with those in our body that come from a different cultural experience. We can learn from each other if we're humble enough to listen.
2) We are obligated by the law of Christ to love our brother and to seek for what leads to peace and mutual edification. In other words, no matter how certain you are that your opinion is right (wait...see point 1 before moving on), it's better to to lose a debate and win a brother than win a debate and lose a brother. Seek peace and mutual benefit!
Caveat: God's Word is objectively true and timeless. We can speak boldly where it speaks clearly, and we should do so! We ought not shy away from calling out injustice when injustice is clear.
The racially tense climate in which we find ourselves would make our pursuit of diversity naturally unattainable. Thankfully, our Master reminds us, "With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible." More than ever, we need the supernatural power of the gospel! It is only in Christ that we find a foundation sure enough to build a diverse church. In him racial hostility is torn down and we are united together as one new man. Indeed, He is making all things new! Church, let us pray and live to that end!!
Next Sunday (July 17th), we will devote our time of corporate worship to crying out to God regarding the recent events in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas. That evening, we will host a time to come together for dialogue and prayer. We want to create an environment to listen and learn from one another, and to lament together.
More than ever, my prayer is that God will make Immanuel Church into a beautiful multi-ethnic mosaic! I believe that nothing would put the gospel on display more clearly! By this the world will know that we are truly his disciples.