What side are you on?

Rev. Dr. Yolanda Denson-Byers delivered a powerful message this Sunday. It’s a message we all need to hear as we struggle with how we will respond to this new wave of emboldened racism. (This text is the link).

If you didn’t read the sermon, stop what you’re doing and click the link above these words.

There’s a lot to feel convicted about right now if you’re an anglo/white American. In particular, I found these words spoken by Rev. Denson-Byers during her sermon to be convicting:

“I saw on Facebook, someone asked, if you ever wondered what you would do during the Holocaust, during the Civil War, during moments like these – you now know. You would do whatever you’re doing right now.

If you ever wondered how you would stand up and be counted in a moment when destiny has seized us, whatever you do in this moment right here, is what you would do. And so in churches all over America, we have to say something that’s True.”

We live in a nation — not just in the South — but in a nation where racial slurs are whispered in sanctuaries while “good people” remain silent. This has to stop.

Standing against what divides us is what the Church is supposed to do as we preach the Gospel, “The Kingdom of God has come near to all of us through the death and resurrection of Jesus”. If that Gospel doesn’t change our behavior and allow the Church to be a place where we speak the truth about the heresy of racism and division, then what good is the Church? If we don’t work toward smashing our cultural idols through the work that we do, what good is the Church?

If the only hope we can offer is for the next life, what good is the Church?

If we’re more concerned with keeping things quiet than we are with standing up for God’s justice, who are we?

I have a lot of faith in the people of God, that we can take a stand and call each other to repentance, some for prejudice against those who look or believe differently, some for the sin of pride because they feel superior to those who hold those prejudices, some for remaining silent in the face of injustice, and add it to the multitude of things we confess and for which we seek forgiveness.

This isn’t some new sin, it’s the same old tired sin we’ve struggled with for thousands of years that rests so close to our identities that it causes wars when we try to become repentant.

It’s okay, we good church folks know what to do with sin. We confess, we repent, we celebrate the new life offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we proclaim the good news that there’s no one who is so gripped by sin that they can’t celebrate this new life with us.

(Post inspired by a Facebook conversation)

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