Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some of you might have the day off work. This is not a holiday that I typically have done well to observe. But I think the recent events in Ferguson and New York (to name just two) have changed the way I will approach the third Monday in January.
As Summitviewers, we believe in trickle-down spiritual economics as the best way to stir ourselves to action and right living. The process goes something like this: We fill our minds with God’s truth and we let that truth trickle down into your heart, where that truth gets actualized in our actions and affections.
I would ask you to employ this method in considering what MLK Day means in 2015.
Start with God’s Word: How should we then live in this nation, in this time with these racial issues at hand? What do we see in the history Old Testament that can change the way we perceive our own history (as a nation, as a church)? What do we see in the life of Jesus that should change the way we live our lives (as neighbors, as saints, as citizens)? What do we read in the letters from the Apostles about the power of the gospel to bring about foretastes of the Kingdom (sin can only be killed by the work of the King)?
Then I would encourage you to read other Christian thinkers and pastors — maybe even those who don’t frequent your Twitter feed or those who don’t make guest appearances on your favorite talk radio show. I believe we can learn much from other brothers and sisters on this issue. We don’t have to be afraid to read a different opinion than the ones we hold; God is good and we have his Word as the authority on all truth claims.
I have come across three articles posted within the last 24 hours that have been helpful, encouraging and convicting in the area of race in the United States. Below, I’ll link to each one and quote a paragraph, as well.
Today is a national holiday. A flawed but courageous man died fighting for the cause of “Peace and Brotherhood,” and the least we can do to honor that legacy is to look for the truth about where we’ve come, where we are and where we’re headed.
John Piper offers six reasons why the events depicted in the recently released Selma still matter today. One of the reasons:
When I think about the needs and sorrows and injustices of the world (thousands of peoples perishing unreached by the gospel, millions of babies killed in their mothers’ wombs, global slavery and human trafficking, ethnic and racial hatreds around the world), the thought of an easy, comfortable, secure life of coasting to the end, feels overwhelmingly unattractive to me.
So I pray that this story of courage and sacrifice and conflicted righteousness will stir you and me to an unwavering commitment not to waste our lives.
Over at the Canon & Culture blog, we see the convergence of history and discipleship:
What Dr. King understood, and what we must as well, is that reconciliation is central in this call. In the gospel, God calls sinners to be reconciled to himself through the saving work of His Son. And he also offers hope that we can be reconciled to one another. This call to reconciliation with one another is not an optional additive for some Christians. As civil rights hero and gospel preacher John Perkins has pointed out, it is central to the Christian life and is best understood as a matter of discipleship. Maybe today is as good a day as any to renew our commitment to that vision and confess that we still have a long way to go.
Brian Loritts is a pastor at Trinity Grace Church in New York City and the president of the Kainos Movement. He makes a guest appearance on Ed Stetzer’s Christianity Today column to remind us, among other things, that race is a matter of the heart:
At its necessary core, the civil rights movement dealt with law, for which I, as a black man, am forever grateful. But at its corresponding core, race is not a matter of law; it is a matter of the heart. Forced legislation cannot reform a wayward heart, it is only the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it is because the church has been entrusted as the stewards of this sacred gospel that we must pick up where Dr. King and his lieutenants left off. Our battle is not ultimately with structures (though there is systemic injustice, which the church must address), as much as it is with the reformation of the heart.
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