Stop me if you have heard this, “Boy, has this been a difficult season.” That is an attitude I have heard time and time again. I think we have given up on the idea of ever returning to normal, but we should not give up on the Church getting back to what it does best. However, in this season, I wonder if the Church needs a reminder of its purpose.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was wrongly accused and wrongly convicted of a crime He did not commit. The Sanhedrin would go to any means necessary to silence this rabbi, even to the extreme of breaking the Eighth Commandment to have Jesus put to death.
Ann Landers once wrote, “Hatred is like an acid. It can do more damage to the vessel in which it is stored as well than to the object on which it is poured.”
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16)
I had a great conversation with a brother in Christ about Black History Month. He asked me two sincerely heartfelt questions: Why and how should a Lutheran church celebrate Black History Month?
Why the Book of Malachi for this time? Malachi offers a peek into the souls and moods of Israelite men and women. In fact, Malachi’s words are perfectly timed to provide encouragement at a time when God’s people doubted His love for them. The Israelites were centered on their lamentable plight and denied owning up to any displeasing conduct. Hope is a fitting finale to a very trying season in 2020. Many people are troubled, some dealing with loss and grief, and all of us could use a bit of hope. There is a better day coming. And that better day is not based on the outcome of the election, the return of income, or even better health.
In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst Nazi prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea infested.
In previous posts, I have approached the concept of race relations from a theoretical point of view. However, in this post, I want to give you some practical ideas to help make the task ahead seem less daunting. When we work with congregations who ask us for the magic ingredient for reaching their community, we have just one word for them. If you want to know the secret to being relevant in your community, come closer and I will tell you. A little closer. The secret is RELATIONSHIPS!
John Maxwell once said about leadership, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Any hope we have of overcoming racial tension, any hope of seeing beyond color, is based on our ability to build authentic relationships. On to the task at hand: how do you develop a circle of trust? I believe there are five key elements.
“I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” Isaiah 65:19
As I look at the landscape in our country today, especially when it comes to race in America, what I see is a sea of broken dreams. For those people who look at their life with regret and pain, this post is for you. Usually, I leave the good part for the clincher, but I want you to hear this upfront: God can restore your broken past, and He helps you overcome your broken dreams.
Tonto and the Lone Ranger were riding through a canyon together when all of a sudden both sides were filled with Indian warriors on horses, dressed for battle. The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked, “What are we going to do?” Tonto replied, “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?” (In Search of Unity, Edward Dobson, pp. 20–27)
A funny illustration, but there is some scary truth contained here. The attitude of “I am with you until trouble comes” is destructive for race relations. What is causing the division?