Recently I posted an item on Facebook related to race relations in America. A friend saw it and had a somewhat heightened response. Running into me a few days later, that friend expressed a strong desire to become part of a group willing to talk about what she termed racial understanding, adding “We need to do this!”
That reminded me of one the best aspects of Church.
Just yesterday, I noticed another Facebook post uploaded by a different person who is from another part of the country but with whom I’m becoming acquainted through social media. This new friend posted a reminder of the time and place for the next meeting of “Racists Anonymous,” which she described as a group of people coming together “in a spirit of fellowship” with the goal of examining their “inherent racial biases without fear of finger-pointing.”
That, too, reminded me of some of the best of Church.
To me, Church is the place where we must be able to go and hear tough-to-hear issues and problems being presented but know that, although the raising up of such will cause us heightened responses, having the courage to face tough-to-talk-about concerns is not finger-pointing. And if any of us are tempted to do any pointing, Church is the place where we learn the importance of turning our index fingers back at ourselves. Indeed, Church is where we can examine hard-to-face truths about ourselves and be set free from them.
Church is where we must come together, all God’s children—racists, classists, sexists, ageists, ableists— with all the ists with which we are burdened.
Church is where together, in the light of the Spirit of Christ, we bring all our ists, all our isms, any gender or sexual identity phobia, every ethnocentricity, each selfish greed, and are reminded together that our God of forgiveness can and will empower us to forgive each other and to love justice and inclusion.
This Saturday at The Well, we will come together to talk, to listen, to practice pointing inward, to practice forgiveness and to receive it. We will hear God’s healing Word and pray for the courage to live as followers of Christ.
Whosoever will, come. All are welcome.