I find it very disturbing the level of hate and racism that exists in our nation. It is likewise disturbing to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this.” While many churches, ours included, have taken steps to resolve this issue in our churches, many are still segregated. They may not be doing so by conscience choice, but they do so by their actions towards others.
This becomes most obvious when we see people who claim to be Christian using racial slurs towards others. When people who claim to be Christians write Op-Eds that say that African-Americans should observe curfews to avoid issues with the police. It is obvious when Christians demand that others speak English. They show their lack of Christianity when they shout that immigrants should go back to where they come from. It is obvious when people call the police on people waiting in a coffee shop for a friend.
It is time for the church to find its voice again and speak against this tide of hate and racism. As Dr. King continued in that same speech, “The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out into the arena of social reform is to remove the yoke of segregation from its own body. …. Now that the mistake of the past has been made, I think that the opportunity of the future is to really go out and to transform American society, and where else is there a better place than in the institution that should serve as the moral guardian of the community. The institution that should preach brotherhood and make it a reality within its own body.”
We as Christians should stand up against the racism and hatred that has infiltrated our nation. It is our job to stand with the oppressed. We need to be Christ to everyone.
As we approach Good Shepherd Sunday, we should keep in mind that sheep come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. The Shepherd does not care about any of that when he is protecting the sheep. His only concern is to protect them. And the Good Shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. It is time that we follow the Good Shepherds example. We must stand up for our brothers and sisters who are enduring oppression and attacks.
As a church, we resolve to stand with all people who are oppressed. We resolve to stand against racism, hatred, and bigotry.
And we will welcome everyone into our church with open arms.