Greetings in Christ!
While at the LCMNet National Staff Conference last week, we found ourselves in a significant struggle. Exactly a week after the murders of the Charleston 9 at Emanuel AME, nothing was said at our opening worship. No names mentioned. No prayers lifted. No laments raised. Nothing. This brought tears of sadness and anger not only to our black colleagues, but to many of us across the racial spectrum.
In this week’s reading from Ezekiel, we hear God refer to God’s people as “hardheaded” and “hard-hearted,” and that Ezekiel’s mission is to speak as a prophet to these people. As a community, perhaps our conference was hardheaded and hard-hearted.
Not maliciously so, of course. We mourn for each of those people who died. We grieve for their families. We lament the sins of racism and violence in the world. But as a predominantly white church, it’s also easy for those things to move to the backs of our minds. This seems a most prevalent example of white privilege. White Christians can enter a sanctuary a week after such terrorism and not even think about the dangers constantly faced by our black sisters and brothers. Privilege, in this sense, is about our ability to live life without considering how race shapes our life experience. Privilege, perhaps, is being hardheaded and hard-hearted to the sufferings of those around us, not maliciously, but ignorantly.
This week, ask God to remove any hardheadedness and hard-heartedness from your life and that of our church. Ask God to make you aware of how privilege shapes your life. Pray that this awareness helps us to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, and softens our heads and hearts to the needs and experiences of all.
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