Celebrating MLK Day and Pursuing Racial Reconciliation
Yesterday my family and I were able to attend the 50th Annual Martin Luther King March on the East Side of San Antonio. Some news outlets reported approximately 300,000 people in attendance. The San Antonio march is the largest of its kind in the country. It was quite a sight to behold: people of all types - African-American, White, Hispanic, and more - walking together to celebrate the progress made in the Civil Rights Movement towards racial justice. I was pleased to have an opportunity to speak with my kids about the historical importance of this day and expose them to a different part of our city than what we normally would see.
The March was a time for remembrance and celebration. But it should also be a time to recommit to the pursuit of justice in the world. The pursuit of justice is one of the major themes of the Old Testament, in particular. The true God is a God who sees the injustices of the world and is angered by it. He is a God who cares for the victimized, for the oppressed, and for the sojourner. He also calls his people to care about justice. Few books of the Bible emphasize this more than Amos. Amos’ word from the Lord can be summarized in the key chapter of the prophecy, in which God tells Israel: “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate…Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:14-15, 24)
What will it look like for you and for Christ Church to “hate evil, love good, and establish justice”? That is a great topic of conversation for your MCG to discuss, or for you to think about with your own family. As a church, our Mercy and Justice initiatives are intended, in part, to mobilize Christ Church to serve a small role in doing good, loving mercy, and seeking justice. Be on the lookout for opportunities to get involved in those initiatives as the new year progresses. You can talk to Will Young, who begins his new role as Director of Ministry Operations and Community Life on February 1, about these initiatives as well.
Finally, you should do some reading on the topic. Let me recommend three books in particular: Generous Justice by Tim Keller is a great introduction to the biblical topic of justice and how it fits into the life of a local church or an individual Christian. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is a great story about a real-life advocate for justice in our country. And finally, on the topic of racial reconciliation and racial injustice, Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson is a profoundly helpful and eye-opening book for white Christians in America to read.
May we be a people who are more and more transformed by the gospel of grace, and therefore more and more committed to caring for justice in our world. Tim Keller summarizes it so well: “If a person has grasped the meaning of God's grace in his heart, he will do justice. If he doesn't live justly, then he may say with his lips that he is grateful for God's grace, but in his heart he is far from him. If he doesn't care about the poor, it reveals that at best he doesn't understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just.”