Scripture: Psalm 63
Take it Further: More Questions than Answers by Terre Lucas
Oh God, “I Need Thy Sense of Time
Reverend Thurman wrote these words well before I was born, and today I’m closer to death than I care to think. Through the span of my life, racial strife has been a constant. To my way of thinking, growth has been slow. Pastor Nate quoted evangelist Leighton Ford as encouraging the church, as early as 1969, to “lean into racial strife or the gospel witness would be at stake.” Because we’ve resisted leaning into our history, we are lamenting multiple systems that mock the gospel.
Had we made addressing our history a priority, what might our world be like today? Yes, I said our history. Some people may be thinking, “That’s not my story.” I challenge you to consider that it most certainly is. Not only that, but also, as Pastor Nate would say, you are not the center of the narrative. God is the big story here. If we lament, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1), then amid our suffering, we must know that he is seeking us. With our made-up minds and busy lives, I pray we sense his calling; it’s time.
I struggle with upcoming discussions I’ve agreed to have with some people who believe themselves ready to talk. I wonder if they’ve any idea what they are asking of me? Which ones might be oblivious to their white fragility and its negative effect on our conversation? They may hear it from their white pastors, but will they receive it from me? This is tough.
It is not my heart to discourage conversations; in reality, hard conversations on race are very much in God’s sense of order. Think about the guidelines for engagement in this week’s message, Embodied Faith. Would those guidelines be necessary if people of color had no risk in speaking our truth? Will my friends relate to the retribution we receive if our comments or actions simply touch a nerve? Just look at the NFL’s not-so-subtle exclusion of Colin Kaepernick as an example. Such rejection isn’t so rare in everyday life. Will these people, my friends, remember we are friends and take the risk with me? Will they remember that they are not the center of the narrative, will I remember, so that together we can do God’s work and combat situations that are unnecessarily safe, or unfair, depending on who and where we are? If we want to give more than lip service to his steadfast love that is better than life (Ps.63:3, ESV), we need to trust God to work in these conversations. Experiencing this new sense of order will give birth to great testimonies; and for that, we “Need Thy Sense of the Future.”
Listed below are the guidelines Pastor Nate shared in today’s service. Which of these actions seem the
most challenging? More importantly, to what will you commit? Stay at the table when it gets hard.
- Continue to listen and only go where we are invited or where there is communal confirmation.
- Know that there’s no one way to speak out.
- Remember, our actions are as important online as they are offline and vice versa.
- Act on the call to speak, listen, and lean in and help be change agents of healing wherever we are and wherever we live and work.
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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