Today I saw the words, “Share the Power,” graffitied on a bridge, and suddenly the thing I have been struggling with and unable to express came to light.
I want to share the power. I just don’t know how.
I don’t have enough power and sway to make the changes that need to be made. Wait, no, back up. I don’t know what changes need to be made. I just know there needs to be change.
I am troubled, no, moved, no… frustrated.
Look, I don’t care about politics and jargon. I care about people. So, yes, black lives matter. I get it that all life matters, but what is wrong with saying specifically that black lives matter?
For hundreds of years our nation told them something else, but now that our society no longer restricts and subjects an entire people group through laws and we have some great programs in place to try to make up for the past, people are offended that there is still a need to affirm the importance of people. Come on, America. Come on neighbors. We can do better.
We can stand up on the roof tops and shout, “Black lives matter.”
You might say, “but I didn’t make the mess.”
So, what. We share this house we call America. Everybody should do their part to clean it up. That is how it is in my house. Everybody cleans, no matter whose mess it is.
Okay, so that is where I am. Here is the problem though: How? How do we go about cleaning up the mess we have made. How do we undo the mistakes of hundreds of years that have truly disadvantaged a race?
More accurately, how do I do it?
This is the question I have been asking myself. In all honesty, it took me a while to see there was a problem. I don’t know racist people, so I thought racism didn’t exist. I don’t see people mistreated for their color, so I didn’t understand the impacts of our history.
I didn’t look to see that when the starter pistol of freedom went off, one group was already ten laps ahead and wondering why the other group wouldn’t just work harder to catch up as we threw hurdles in their lanes. After decades of getting further ahead, the hurdles are mostly removed and there are even some aid stations, but that isn’t enough to make up the distance.
I know I’m jumping around and rambling. I just have these feelings and these thoughts that have been swirling. I also have all these people that I know and love, and I am sick with my lack of power. I am sick of the power of my skin being powerless to change the outcomes of hundreds of years.
I want to share the power. I want to give people power.
This isn’t just about race, but it has a lot to do with race. It is about people and humanity. It is about looking at test scores and achievement gaps. It is about looking at poverty and what leads to it and how to get out. It is about quality of life and respect.
All I know is this:
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
Everything hangs on these two things.
Maybe that is the power I have to share.
I love a really big God. I am praying, and I am believing for change in my community and in my city. I can rely on a greater power. I can do my best to love God and love others the way he leads.
As our church moves from the outskirts of town into the city, I am praying for our church to be a place and a people of change. I am praying that we will reflect love and community between children of God.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
It may not seem that I have an effective plan, but I believe a strong, loving, support network of people from all races, who are there for each other and relying on God, can change the heart of a city.
This Saturday, another white supremacist group will come to protest here in Charlottesville. They are like clanging symbols and resounding gongs because they come without love. They are loud and angry, but they have no real power in comparison to the power of action in love.
Love is being a neighbor that can be called for a ride, a meal, or a check to cover an unexpected expense…. and trusting my neighbor to do the same for me.
I believe in relying on God and on each other. We are the hands and the feet of Jesus. I can’t solve the race issues our nation faces. I can start the change by leading a church that relies on God’s power and demonstrates his love.
The power to change doesn’t come from my skin color. It comes from God.
If we rely on a greater love and purposefully seek to follow his commands, we can change everything.
Share the Power.
P.S. I know this opens me up to criticism because race is a hot button issue. Here are my preemptive disclaimers:
I don’t have it all right. I get that some will say I’m too liberal and others will say I’m not liberal enough. I’m saying/doing too little, or I’m saying/doing too much. Some will say race isn’t an issue at all (they obviously don’t live in a Charlottesville….).
I don’t care. I am going to do what I know now, and I will continually learn, grow, and do what I can in love.