Our local community has faced some difficult news and situations recently – particularly in one of our local school districts. Without getting into all the nitty-gritty of this particular event, suffice it to say that it dealt with racism and violence against people of color. As I do not have children of my own in the school districts, much of this was new information for me though many of these acts of prejudice and bias have been happening for years.
I have been praying and thinking a great deal about it as I came to learn of these events. It breaks my heart that people continue to suffer this kind of hatred and racism on a regular basis. As a white woman, I can “happily” go about my day without having to deal with any of it. And I could *just lift up my prayers, shake my head and think that nothing will ever change.
Yet, how as a people of faith are we called to respond? What does Jesus say in the midst of all this? How might we both point to the sin of racism as well as seek to offer the reconciliation and transforming change that is offered in Christ?
St. Paul wrote to the Romans (12:1-3): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, on the basis of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
We are invited to not live as the world lives but to be continually renewed by the grace of God. We are called to not just be transformed within our own selves but to seek to bring God’s mercy to bear upon the world around us.
I have talked in a few different places (church council & annual meeting) about exploring how we might live into our mission that “all are welcome”. While we may know that within ourselves, how do others know that? What does it look like for us to be a welcoming congregation of all people?
One way is to become what is called a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) community of faith. As stated in the link below: The purpose of the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is to ensure the welcome, inclusion, celebration, and advocacy for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions; work for racial equity and commit to anti-racist work and support the national program
This is not just something that we just sign onto, but an opportunity for us to explore what this means and what it might look like within the context of our congregation. I invite you to read more information about it in the link below, to pray about it, ask any and all questions, share concerns and the like.
We will begin exploring this further in the weeks after Easter so watch for more information soon.
As we look towards Easter and the resurrecting grace of Christ, let us seek the ways in which our lives and world can be transformed by this all-encompassing love!
We’re Already Welcoming…Why We Need to Say So!
Peace in Christ,