Second Sunday of Advent:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world;
He has made known to us the wonder of God’s glory,
A glory full of grace and truth.
Karen and I had a special Thanksgiving with family in Chicago. Throughout the week, however, our hearts were weighed down by the events in Ferguson. I needed to remind myself intentionally of the hope of the gospel and the calling of Christ’s church, empowered by the Spirit, to be different. Here are some quotations that have helped me reset my hope.
The first is from Benjamin Watson, who plays football for the New Orleans Saints. I’ve excerpted from a Facebook post of his that went viral and led to multiple media appearances: I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
Ed Stetzer, a pastor in Tennessee and contributing editor for Christianity Today, writes: The issue of race remains contentious in our nation. It is often difficult to fully grasp the complexity and the hurt of those from a different background. Throughout the course of events in Ferguson I have tried to seek insight from friends who can speak to this issue in ways I cannot, and have dealt with this struggle in ways that I have not.
Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, also in Dallas, calls Christians to discover the art and skill of listening to each other across racial lines, hearing what lies beneath so many of the emotions that are so tender right now and thus grow in our understanding of one another. May the church of Jesus Christ lead the way in promoting prayerful peace, starting in God’s house and then overflowing into the culture. May we truly learn to operate on the biblical principle of oneness, filled with compassion toward the hurting and openness toward those whose opinions and life experiences may differ from our own.