Pastor Brian began this week's sermon by encouraging us to continue fumbling forward in love on the topic of Gospel and race. He provided immensely practical steps for us as a church to live out a biblically sound representation of reconciliation in our neighborhoods and social locations. But before he did, he took time to lead us in a clarifying conversation for anyone who may still be asking, "Wait! Why are we doing this again?"
Let's talk more about this together.
Read this from the Bible together:
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
Christ reconciled us to himself...First things first, we are all participants in the ministry of reconciliation. If you are a believer in Jesus then you were once lost and now are found. You were once divided from God's presence and now have been given access to it. Why is it important to remember that we don't worship diversity, but we worship Jesus who came to reconcile a diverse group of sinners to himself?
...and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...The ministry of reconciliation is a gift and we have the joyful responsibility of giving it to others. While this applies to our individual spiritual lives, it also applies to our lives in community. Why do you think the Bible describes reconciliation as a "ministry" and "message" and not as a one-time transaction for the Christian?
...and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation...God entrusted us with the message of reconciliation which means that we are to 1) celebrate and 2) be intentional about how we go about valuing the gift that message is. How have you celebrated your own unique story and the ways in which God reconciled you to himself? How have you exemplified intentionality with your time, energy and home to promote the ministry of reconciliation where you are currently placed?
"May we never be people who have an affinity for justice, but an aversion to sacrifice." The ministry of reconciliation is costly, but the end result is immense joy. Why do you think it costs so much for justice and joy to be a part of our reality? What costly sacrifices can you foresee having to make or have already made to that end?
“'White guilt is paralyzing, not helpful." The ministry of reconciliation should feel heavy and haunting, but it should not feel paralyzing. If you are of the majority culture, have you struggled with "white guilt"? If you are a part of the minority culture, why is guilt not helpful to the message of reconciliation?
"If you're trying to figure out why you feel so apathetic, could it be because you don't really care about anyone finding their place?" Pastor Brian zinged our church family with this exposing question regarding our conversations around the Gospel and race. Salvation for all people is the goal of the Christ follower—do you have a missional heartbeat? Do you believe that the gospel of the good news is simply too good to not share with everyone you can? How can our indifference to racial equality reveal how we truly feel about a gospel that the Bible says is for everyone?