The last two months have been a whirlwind for me! With several boxes still to be unpacked, I hit the open road to spend time with my family in Texas. I had agreed to watch my grandchildren while my daughter and son-in- law were away, so I set the GPS and headed west.
Driving to Lubbock from Clio requires 22 hours of driving, plus any stops you might make for food, gas, or sleep. (I did all of the above!) I enjoy the drive, and the opportunity to see so much of our nation. In just two days, I saw rural communities and big cities, the St. Louis Arch and acres of sunflowers, the Ozark Hills and Texan mesas, corn fields and open plains, red clay and lush forests. I passed amusement parks, fudge shops, historic markers, ancient caverns, herds of cattle and buffalo, and hundreds of orange construction cones! Somewhere in Missouri (I think) I saw my favorite road sign of 2017; it read:
That’s the temperature,
Not the speed limit!
Travelling this country is both a privilege and a wonder; had I been driving farther south, or north, or west, or east, I would have seen even more diversity – glaciers and volcanoes, Louisiana bayou, Arizona desert, Manhattan skyscrapers, Blue Ridge / Smoky / Appalachian / Rocky Mountains, California coastline, Dakota Badlands, Hopi cliff dwellings, the Great Salt Lake, Washington rain forest, and so much more! In a nation of such varied climates, lifestyles, terrain, cultures, and people, it is no surprise that our values, beliefs, politics and priorities are so hard to balance. We even speak different languages and dialects. I marvel at who we are, and the democracy we are committed to being. But, my heart breaks over the increasingly violent eruptions of anger and bigotry across our nation in recent months. It is as if the ugliest sides of our humanity have been given free reign over our common sense. Racism and cries of white supremacy have escalated without criticism or condemnation from our nation’s highest office, while university campuses and city streets become chaotic sites of protest and alienation. As people of faith, we must admit the truth – again: racism is a sin. It is a sin against the God who created us in God’s own image. It is a sin against the God who values each and every human being with equal and unconditional love. It is a sin against the kingdom of God, the community to which God has called us. The very idea that any one person, race or culture is more worthy of respect, freedom, opportunity, education, health care, or privilege is an affront to God. Racism is a sin – a deeply-rooted, insidious evil. It hides in the crevices of our worldview, it wraps itself around our silent judgments of others, and it creates hundreds of reasons for “the way life is” that magically excuse us from accountability. I have no easy answers, because the easy ones are generally patronizing and inaccurate. But I do believe that God has answers for us, and that we may be afraid to hear them.
Please join me in prayer, as I seek the courage to hear those answers. Pray for our community, and for our nation. Pray that we would recognize the ways in which unfounded fear is being used to divide us, and exaggerated suspicions to turn us against one another. Pray that we would be able to see one another through God’s eyes, hear one another with God’s heart, and love one another with God’s grace. Unless we do, I am afraid for the future of this wondrous and diverse land. May God have mercy on us.