Tuesday, February 16
Acts 2:7-11 – Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?”
Luke goes on to list a diversity of nations of origin each testifying to the universal nature of the Great Commission in Matthew 28. We in the church today often walk the razor’s edge separating patriotism from nationalism. American exceptionalism, as expressed for instance in Lee Greenwood, “[a]nd I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free” offers a view on our nation more in line with the experiences of the dominant culture. People of color, the LGBTQ+, and the disabled may recognize their reality more accurately portrayed in Nikki Giovanni’ poem BLK History Month:
If Black History Month is not
viable then wind does not
carry the seeds and drop them
on fertile ground
rain does not
dampen the land
and encourage the seeds
sun does not
warm the earth
and kiss the seedlings
and tell them plain:
You’re As Good As Anybody Else
You’ve Got A Place Here, Too
Anthropologist Jonathan Marks writing for the PBS series Race – the Power of Illusion challenges us to think about the way we see people. “Here’s the paradox. The classifications that are the most arbitrary, and the least natural, seem to be the ones that matter the most to us. People could be categorized in many ways. There are short people and tall people; people with straight teeth and crooked teeth; with wiry, muscular, or chunky body builds; with freckles; with more or less body hair. These are natural differences, but they’re not very important to us. What is important? Whether you’re an American or an Iraqi. Whether you’re a Nazi, a Communist, a Democrat, or a Republican. An Oriole fan or a Yankee fan. Rich or poor. Us or them. These categories of history and of society, the categories of human invention, are far more important to our daily lives than the categories of natural variation in our species.”
Action step: today, with brutal honesty, and starting from the thesis that the arbitrary categories white, male, and English language still structurally dominate church life ask what changes, if any, to these systemic structures have happened in your congregation and where is God asking you to lead next?
Prayer: A Prayer for Challenging Racism
You are the source of human dignity,
and it is in your image that we are created.
Pour out on us the spirit of love and compassion.
Enable us to reverence each person,
to reach out to anyone in need,
to value and appreciate those who differ from us,
to share the resources of our nation,
to receive the gifts offered to us
by people from other cultures.
Grant that we may always promote
the justice and acceptance
that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony.
Help us to remember that we are one world and one family.
from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Shared on July 24, 2020 by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail