I grew up in the mid-south. In some respects, when it comes to the issue of racism, the south gets a bad rap. When I went away to a college that drew students from all parts of the country, I discovered that racism was not isolated to the south by any means. It is an issue that is not determined by geographical regions. It’s a part of our sinful nature, which is wherever we are.
It’s only in and through Christ that racism, then, can be overcome. On the cross, Christ “…destroyed… the dividing wall of hostility.” (Eph. 2:14) It won’t be completely overcome until we see Christ face to face, but in the meantime, with His help, we can make a difference. I talked in my last post about the need for confession. In this context its understood that repentance accompanies that confession. That’s the first big step.
I’m becoming more and more convinced that the next big step is relationship. Build relationships across racial lines. Given the fact that the most segregated hour in America these days is still at 11am on Sunday morning (or whatever time a church may have its worship service), we have to be intentional about it.
We have gotten intentional about it at our church. Several months ago, we, a predominantly white church, planned a night of worship and prayer together with a church that is predominantly black. It was not a night of preaching or choir performances, it was a night of worship and prayer together. For our prayer time, we worked through the old ACTS acrostic; a time of adoration followed by confession followed by thanksgiving, followed by supplication. Between each segment we sang together. And, for supplication, we divided into small groups (making sure every group had both churches represented), shared requests and prayed for one another. We concluded the night with communion.
We’ve shared two such nights together- the first at their church, the other at ours, and all I can say is, God showed up! Barriers were broken down and RELATIONSHIPS have begun. I’ll keep you posted, but I’ve seen enough to know that this is part of the answer.
If you have questions, feel free to email me at hess or give me a call at 918-261-4913.