01 Dec 2017 Hearts Change When we Listen
For years now, I have had a desire to work to create change in culture and ethnicity within the Church. We might feel as though we live in a very white area, but there a lot of people here who are not white, and they would like to be welcomed in–welcomed into our doors, welcomed into leadership, welcomed into the lives of others through authentic community.
At this point, you’re thinking, “Who?! No one is being left out.” I know that you’re thinking that because I was thinking it too, until just a bit ago. In 2015, when I watched the Race Reconciliation panel during the IF: Gathering conference, it became apparent to me that I was not called to wait for someone else to say something–it was my time to say something. I needed to use the voice, platform, and influence God had given me to see to it that all were welcome. This winter, Jan of 2017, we began that journey through a pilot group for the Race Reconciliation efforts here at Northshore. It has been one of the most transformative things I’ve ever participated in.
One of the people who has participated in this pilot group is Charlene Robertson. Charlene is a white, Christian, and (I hope she doesn’t mind me saying) older woman from our congregation. She showed excited interest in being a part of this group from the beginning, and she has astounded me in the ways she’s jumped right in. But, what completely did me in was this prayer of lament that she wrote. Lament is a significant element of Race reconciliation. Why? We can’t reconcile to each other when we don’t acknowledge hurts that have been committed. After we have seen the hurts we have contributed to, we know there is true heart change when sadness, or lament, occurs. We spent one of our group sessions processing through this, and out of this time together, Charlene wrote the prayer below. I have asked her permission to share, and she said it was ok. I find it so powerful when someone, who has followed Jesus for a long time, finds a deeper level of heart change and brokenness. We are not complete until we reach Heaven, and Charlene demonstrated this powerful heart change to our group; it brought us all to tears. So amazingly powerful.
As I said, this is a pilot group, but more groups will be launched this spring out of the IF: Gathering 2018 conference. If this is something you’d want to be a part of, please email me.
It seemed peaceful, hopeful
almost idyllic –
the era of my childhood.
But underneath the surface
all was not well –
justice for all was a mockery –
all meant white, all meant middle-
Woe to us for choosing to not look.
Woe to me for choosing to not care.
The injuries piled up
people were pushed aside.
But not my people
Oh merciful God have mercy,
forgive our complacency.
Hear our wail
Cover our sins.
Light of the world
light the path forward.