There is so much injustice around us. Shootings at a school, families separated because of massive deportations, kidnapping of children, a broken immigration system, gentrification, anger, and hate. You may find yourself crying out, “WHY?”
I think the book of Lamentations can shed some light on this question. Jeremiah uses vivid language to tell us about the destruction of Jerusalem, to express the pain of suffering, to show the loss. Jerusalem is destroyed. “How deserted lies the city…bitterly she weeps at night....The Lord is like an enemy.…He has destroyed his place of meeting.” Why did God send such destruction on His people? The Lord needed to be faithful to His character. He needed to judge injustice and sinful behavior. He doesn’t take sin lightly.
I’ve been driving around the suburbs and I’ve noticed that many churches are expanding their buildings. Some of them include ponds, big signs, beautiful landscapes, lots of parking spaces. When I ask why they are expanding their buildings, normally the response is “to handle the needs of the congregation.” They add a bigger nursery, larger kitchen, a nicer room for the youth, a gym, etc. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a bigger building, but why is it they want to be bigger? Why is it so important to have a larger kitchen when there’s so much suffering, poverty, pain, oppression, and racism around us that needs our attention and our dollars?
In what ways is your church responding to people who are suffering because of unjust systems? How is the church suffering alongside with those who are hurting? I was intrigued by the expression “Christmas in July” when I first heard it. I didn’t know it was a Christmas celebration to those less privileged. What about the rest of the year?
The tendency for people overseas is to think that churches in America are rich. It is unfathomable for them that there are poor people in the United States. But that is far from reality! We’ve been hearing just one voice, just one narrative—and it is the voice of white privilege. We need to hear the voices, the stories, the narratives of all those who have been suppressed for years.
Why do we want to see just one side of the coin? Doesn’t a coin have two sides?
This is a portion of Viviana's February newsletter. Sign up to receive your full Race Relations regional newsletter, including upcoming events in your area and recommended resources, at bit.ly/racerelationsnews.