June 8th, 2020
I want to thank you for the outpouring of encouragement after yesterday’s service. Not only was it our first outdoor worship, but we began to tackle a very serious cultural issue of our day. As you can imagine, it is not “fun” bringing up race in a sermon. It’s not supposed to be. But this is a real part of life. Several of you have already reached out and told me you’re thinking about what you can do. You want to be part of God's solution to the problem of racial injustice, but you don’t know how. Remember the sermon yesterday, it’s not up to you to save the world. God’s got this. With that in mind, simply take the next step in faithfulness. Here are a few ideas:
Pray the prayer I taught you yesterday. Do you remember it? It’s a one-word prayer: Maranatha! It means come Lord Jesus. Our hope is not in the economy, the government, or getting the right people elected. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. Draw hope knowing that Jesus is coming back. Praying the prayer Maranatha reminds you of that truth, prepares you for that day, and readies you to love others sacrificially in this day.
I suggested in the sermon you ask a black friend to tell you what it’s like. Actually, I wish I wouldn’t have said that. Some of you don’t have black friends. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you simply live in NE Indiana. The reason I wish I hadn’t said that is your black brothers and sisters are traumatized and exhausted right now. They’re trying to explain this mess to their kids even as the wrestle with their God about it themselves. They might not have the emotional bandwidth to tell you what it’s like just because you’re curious.
Instead, educate yourself. I’ll give you some resources below on how to become educated about race in America. I didn’t even know what redlining was until 4 years ago. No one taught me what black vets and their families dealt with after WWII. Do you know these stories? I’ll also link to testimonies you can read by black Christians who have already put out there publicly. Lastly, I would encourage you to listen to black pastors.
The Holy Post is a podcast by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer and this episode is their most downloaded one ever. In it, he simply reads through a slide show created by his brother who is the president of a law school. His brother made the presentation because one of the professors at his law school was a leader in the Black Lives Matter protests that shut down Minneapolis in 2017. Some alumni and donors wanted to know, ‘hey, why is one of your professors doing this?’ A couple of the statistics I cited in yesterday’s sermon come from this presentation.
Some of you are voracious readers. There are great resources for you too.
InterVarsity Press has made 50+ books on race and justice free on eBook. Use Promo code: JUST20, this week only. Go here for the Faithful Justice store, but keep in mind you may have to try again as they have had a huge response since releasing this sale earlier today. The code is good all week.
Listen to the stories of black believers and believe them
The Gospel Coalition has a number of articles that will help you hear what it’s like being black in so much of America and from people who share your faith in Jesus.
Shai Linne is a Christian hip-hop artist who wrote a powerful reflection just today
Phillip Holmes is a vice president at Reformed Theological Seminary and his reflection, likewise, is a must-read for all Christians
Follow black Christian leaders on social media
Dr. Mika Edmondson holds a phd in systematic theology from Calvin Seminary and pastored a church in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids for many years before moving just this spring to join Scott Sauls on staff of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, a PCA church.
Dr. Anthony Bradley is a full professor of religious and theological studies at King’s College in New York City.
Listen to black pastors
I know many of you listen to preachers other than me throughout the week. It’s ok! I’m not offended at all. When is the last time you’ve heard a sermon from a black evangelical pastor? Again I have some resources.
Rev. Dr. Scott McKee of our very own Ward EPC in Northville, MI invited Rev. Harvey Carey from Citadel of Faith in Detroit, to preach to both their congregations via live stream yesterday. You can watch them minister together here
Glenn Myers is the pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church and is the moderator-elect of our denomination. His message from yesterday was great
Above all, remember that while we have a giant problem in our faces right now, we serve a God who is a known giant slayer!
Until the whole world hears,