The name of civil-rights champion Dr. Rosa Parks is well known to history. But there was another Rosa, “a black teacher with liberating dreams,” with an inspiring story of her own. “The First Rosa”, produced by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, is a film that will enlighten the Church to Dr. Rosa J. Young’s remarkable history as a pioneer Lutheran educator and missionary who, alongside the Rev. Nils J. Bakke, planted dozens of historically black Lutheran schools and chapels in the American South. See the long odds they faced—struggles with strident critics, the Ku Klux Klan, even an invasion of boll weevils—before emerging with a glorious victory.
Dear Christian Church,
As I look at the racial pain all around and the way it is portrayed in the national media, it saddens me. The tone is so negative, and it is feeding into the darkness that is already out there in our sin-sick world. I don’t expect the world to have real solutions. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Dear Church, especially the Black Church, just as you answered the call in the Civil Rights Movement, you have a pivotal role to play. You have the Light. You know the only real Love. The world is lost without your voice. Without your direction. It is time to stand and lead. Now is the time to speak out.
Those looking for Answers.
The writer of Ecclesiastes shares these words of wisdom,
“There is a time for everything.
A time to tear apart and
a time to sew together,
a time to keep quiet and
a time to speak out.” Ecclesiastes 3 (ESV)
There are two things the Christian church must do.
- Identify the real enemy in the racial divide.
Take a step back from the emotional ties you have to this issue of racial divisions and look at the bigger picture. Make sure you are asking the right question. Who benefits most from this problem getting ramped up and intensifying? America isn’t winning. The communities that are under attack are not winning. The police, who are on being slain on a daily basis and their broken families are not winning. For the cops who have to deal with the new reality that every decision, every traffic stop, or response to a domestic dispute depending on how that call ends could face scrutiny, or now death are not winning.
Black America who feels the American dream has left them behind are not winning. And the white America that wants to help solve the problem is afraid to speak out for fear of being called a racist is not winning.
So, all those groups seeking solutions, searching for a path forward and are lost in the midst of this tension. We are living in a broken world, and the racial issues only serve as a stark reminder of our need for a Savior, a healer, a reconciler. There is a spiritual reason behind this racial rift. Church leaders you have the power to change things. Our Lord and Savior armed you with the spiritual weapons of God. Battle Satan’s lies the way Jesus did with the truth of the Scripture. All people have value because we are created by the same One True God. We all begin our journey of the foot of the cross and end our trip at the grave. The dash in between in our legacy. Racism devalues people. Our color-blind God reminds us that all lives matter. The apostle Paul tells us of how God sees us in Galatians 3, “26 You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.”
- Commit to Reconciliation
The divide did not happen overnight, and it can’t be solved quickly. The process will take time. You don’t just get back to business as usual. You need to repent and see a turning away from wrong. You need to take small steps forward, to look for little windows of progress. Yes, there will be setbacks. But if the relationship is worth saving you don’t give up. The real question in all this: “Is the racial divide worth repairing?” If so the church needs to lead the way. We preach and teach reconciliation every Sunday, now we need to model it, lead it, and never lose hope in the power of it.
A resource to help the conversation in your church or small group.