As I write this letter, the season of Lent is upon us. I am reminded of the foreigner Jesus Christ who entered into this world to seek and save the lost.
You may say, “Jesus, a foreigner?” He crossed the heavenly realms into His earthly body. As a child he was transported across a national border to evade a cruel regime. He passed from life to death on the cross, and crossed back to life. He made a way for “illegals” to cross into heaven. Rejoice with me in the love of our Father, the sacrifice of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit in us to break down the walls of hostility — both between God and humanity, and between human ethnic groups!
Lent is a season to embrace lament. I invite you to lament that we often place tradition over mission. God created us in His image as one human race. Yet we persist in segregating ourselves by skin color. As our Christian Reformed churches grow increasingly grey-haired rather than transition toward congregational diversity, we merge with other monoculture congregations. We value Eurocentric cultural traditions over ethnic ministry needs in our denomination.
Meanwhile, sociologists lament the damage of segregated living. They see a direct link between segregation and poverty, incarceration, and inequity in education. Rather than lead desegregation, we worship in cultural isolation. We blame people of color for our social ills. We see their misfortune as a punishment for their sinfulness but dismiss our complicity. We have gone astray. Rather than seeking and saving the lost we see them as a liability to protect against. In this Lenten season, let us lament our brokenness and the condition of people who are like sheep without a shepherd.
On the other side of the lament is the resurrection. I am grateful for the congregations that are removing the ethnic and cultural walls of hostility. They are boldly wading through the uncertainty, creating spaces for people from every tongue and nation. These congregations are small and large but one thing they have in common is love for all people.
This is a portion of Rudy's February newsletter. To receive the full newsletter every other month, including recommended resources and upcoming events in your area, visit bit.ly/racerelationsnews.