Friday July 24, 2020
Thanks to everyone who joined our discussion last night! In case you missed it, our next Westwood Reads book will be “I’m Still Here” by Austin Channing Brown
We will end our devotionals this week with one more passage from The Myth of Equality.
“As we participate with Jesus as part of one body, we are a gathering with no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. Not only are we destined for oneness, but in finding oneness we enjoy full participation in the image of God. Multicultural and diverse expressions are important not to fulfill a political or sociological agenda and demonstrate that we’re free of racism – or even better, that we have genuine affection for everyone beyond our own groups. Rather, it is a theological imperative that the trajectory of our journey home to God and reconciliation with him is bound up in our reconciliation with others in the one body of Christ and united with our Creator God.” (p. 171)
The phrase that stands out to me in this quote is “a theological imperative.” The author is closing out his book with a reminder that we do not seek racial justice to look good. We don’t talk about racial justice as part of a political agenda. And we don’t address racial injustice in order to prove that we believe God loves everyone – even those different than us.
No, it’s much deeper than that. It’s a “theological imperative.”
What exactly does he mean by that? Our “salvation” is all about our reconciliation with God. But it’s not just our own reconciliation that God is working towards – it’s the reconciliation of ALL PEOPLE. This reconciliation is drawing all people into a unity with God as one body of Christ. Our journey of reconciliation makes is bound up in our being reconciled with other people. Otherwise how could the body of Christ be unified and whole?
The Apostle Paul talks about this unity by comparing the body of Christ to an actual body. Just because a toe is different than an ear does not make one any more or less a part of the body. In fact, all the parts are needed to make the body whole.
God is not reconciling individual body parts – God is reconciling the whole body. It is therefore imperative that we work towards the unity of that body. Our faith journey has to be about reconciliation with all parts of the body because that’s what God is doing.
The call to racial justice is not a “flavor of the month”. It is not something we can let others deal with. The call to racial justice (and all justice) is part of what it means to be a child of God. It is a theological imperative.
Let’s commit ourselves to the task.
God thank you for reminding us that you desire to be reconciled to all people. Forgive us when we minimize that fact. Help us to grow in our pursuit of justice. Help us to see when we fail. And give us courage to keep trying.