“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The above quote is one of the most famous quotes in American history and one of the underlying values of the whole civil rights movement in this country. But where did Martin Luther King Jr. come up with such an amazing idea? I think he got it from the scriptures. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:16-20
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
It is quite a trap to think of Christianity as merely being a religion about morality and private devotion to God. Sadly this philosophy has characterized much of the American church of recent history. But as St. Paul sees it we who have been reconciled to God through Christ are now called to a ministry of reconciliation. We can't just form clubs populated with only those of our race, religion, culture, or politics. Rather, the church is to be the one place where the differences that separate people in the world are done away with. While Martin Luther King Jr. took issue with the racial segregation of his day, there is still plenty of other kinds of segregation that are allowed in the world, and sadly in the church as well. The truth is that wherever humans gather they will look for ways to divide themselves whether in a small group or in a nation.
Here are a few questions to wrestle with:
What does it mean for the church to have a ministry of reconciliation?
How can reconciliation be carried out without coming across as forced?
What does this look like on an individual level?
I'll close with an interview with Ruby Bridges. If you have never heard of her story go look it up. It is very powerful. Her story is a window into a kingdom point of view on reconciliation.
Racism in the Church is Anti-gospel