I remember the sense of reverence that rose up in my little nine year old body as I learned about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and all the work he did on behalf of not just Black and poor communities but also for the very soul of America. He seemed larger than life, the closest thing to a Saint for a Pentecostal like myself. I was absolutely devastated when I learned he had been assassinated at the age of 39; a wife and four small children had been robbed of a lifetime of love and memories, and a nation lost a much needed son and a prophet. Dr. King would be 91 today, and I often wonder how he would lead us now as yet another young Black American son, Ahmaud Arbery, had his life taken senselessly by two white men as he jogged through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020. Arbery is the latest in a much too long list of “another” loss, and it is as infuriating as it is sickening. What can we as disciples of Jesus do? How do we respond to evil such as racism? Specifically, how do white Christians respond?
There are a few things we can do right now, and there are things we can engage in for the long term, so that we continue to grow and address this topic.
We can pray. We can pray for God to search our own hearts and root out racism. We can pray for comfort for Arbery’s family. We can pray for justice and for systemic changes.
We can partner. We can partner with organizations such as the NAACP and be a voice for justice. We can also participate in a social distance walk/jog/run of 2.23 miles (in remembrance of the date of his death) on Arbery’s birthday, May 8.
VERSES TO STUDY
We can study. This is hardly an exhaustive list on the topic of racism and oppression, but it’s a start. Dig into God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight and understanding.
Genesis 1:26-28—ALL people are created in God’s image.
Psalm 10:14-15—God cares about the afflicted.
Psalm 11:7—God loves justice.
Proverbs 31:8—We must speak up for those our world silences.
Isaiah 1:17—We must defend the oppressed.
Jeremiah 22:3—Rescue the oppressed.
John 4:1-42—Jesus crosses racists lines.
Acts 10:34-35—God does not have favorites.
Galatians 3:28—The world divides, but we are one in Jesus.
James 2:8-9—Favoritism is a sin.
VOICES TO HEAR
We can learn. Read books and listen to podcasts by people from different cultures and ethnic groups. God’s church is multi-cultural, and it is beautiful. We can learn so much about the grandness of God and God’s love by listening to each other. Below are a couple of book recommendations.
- A Sojouner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson.
- Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence by Natalia Kohn Rivera, Noemi Vega Quiñones, and Kristy Garza Robinson.
- Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up by Kathy Khang.
Share how you’re growing and what you are learning with others. Share God’s heart for the oppressed with people in your Christian circles who may not be aware of it. Invite others to pray, study, and listen with you. Let’s not wait for another life to be lost before we do our part.