S (Scripture): Jeremiah 13
17 If you are too proud to listen, I will go off alone and cry my eyes out. I will weep uncontrollably because the Lord’s flock will be dragged off into exile.
18 Tell the king and the queen mother:Come down from your lofty place, because your glorious crowns will soon be removed from your heads.
19 The towns of the arid southern plain will be surrounded; no one will get in or out; all Judah will be taken into exile; everyone will be led away.
O (Observation): Jeremiah mourns that God’s people are too proud, and as a result, they will be cast out. God will not let go of them forever, but Jeremiah’s lament is that the people are so stubborn and arrogant that they are willing to be cast out into exile, rather than repent.
Perhaps Jeremiah’s tears come because he sees the disparity between the action of the people and God’s desires for God’s people. And the people won’t listen. So God will pull the old, “Ok. You do life your way. Let’s see how that works out for you.”
A (Application): Statues. Confederate statues. This is the talk of the town. I’ll be listening in. To those who want it removed. To those who don’t. (By the way, I’m okay with taking ours down in Murfreesboro…but I am one voice amongst many.)
I read something that woke me up, regarding the latest rise in awareness of racism. One suggestion from a black writer to white folks wishing to be allies in the work of dismantling racism is not to act surprised. The suggestion was this: Don’t be surprised by acts of racism; it’s always been here. The author wants folks to be aware of racism…the point is that the level of shock shows a lack of awareness on our (white people’s) part.
Click here for the entire article from Sojourners. Here is the section that got me:
4. Please try not to, “I can’t believe that something like this would happen in this day and age!” your way into being an ally when atrocities like the events in Charleston, S.C., and Charlottesville, Va., happen. People of color have been aware of this kind of hatred and violence in America for centuries, and it belittles our experience for you to show up 300 years late to the oppression-party suddenly caring about the world. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome you. I want for you to come into a place of awareness. However, your shock and outrage at the existence of racism in America echoes the fact that you have lived an entire life with the luxury of indifference about the lives of marginalized/disenfranchised folks. Please take several seats.
I have had many moments of awareness, but let’s just say that I feel a bit more convicted now than I ever have.
I invite you to discern your place in the system and to see how you might be both a part of the problem and solution. I invite you (my white friends) to repent of your part in systemic racism. Don’t look to others or their actions. Look at yourself, repent, and then seek God’s direction in your life. See how you can be a part of God’s glorious plan to bring about reparations and reconciliation in your town.
Build relationships across racial lines. In a workshop on racism, I explained to an African American friend that – even in a genuine show of neighborly love – that I might feel like I was trying to build a relationship artificially. She assured me that if I was genuine, and she heard that I wanted to get to know her and befriend her, that that would not be as artificial as I am making it out to be. She said, “I’d be happy to get to know you.”
So, you see…sometimes it just takes stepping out of the circle. Just a step or two at a time.
Step out. Today.
P (Prayer): #SpiritLeadMe. Amen.