A sower went out to sow. How many times have you heard this story and wondered what kind of soil you are? I’ve wondered about the seeds thrown into my life abundantly. Did they bear fruit? I think some of you can relate to me in this.
It’s not that people don’t want to bear God’s good fruit, but there are times in our lives when we are too busy, and the birds snatch the seeds away. So many times I will take up a seed and nourish it with passion, only to become distracted and to let something new pull me away, and the precious seed dies, not being given a chance to establish deep roots. The purpose of soil is to grow the seed; it exists to receive it, nurture it and hold onto it. Our purpose as God’s soil, is to be hospitable places for whatever seeds our good and generous God sows among us.
In the past six weeks, I have thought and prayed so much about racial injustice and how the county I love could be so intentionally unjust. Against the backdrop of the protests, I’ve been considering the freedoms for which many have fought and died.
My sisters and I grew up in a safe white neighborhood and were accepted into good schools and received degrees, because we had every opportunity this great country offered to those who looked and acted like the majority of people. Did black lives matter to us? Sure, of course, but we just didn’t think that we could change society. The sower went out to sow and his seed fell on rocky ground. It grew up quickly, but didn’t take root.
As we learned more about racial injustice, we realized that even though we are of immigrant stock, we reaped the benefits of white privilege, while others were denied, and shoved aside. We have for some time, worked for and supported organizations that fought for justice, but we haven’t had a vision for how racism could be dismantled.
Now, in light of the effects of the coronavirus on minorities, and as unfair and racist enforcement of the law has come into the spotlight, our country and our church has a chance to make meaningful change. The seed is taking hold once more. Will it grow into something strong, or will is wither after this movement fades away. God has been patiently sowing seeds of justice compassion in this land for over 400 years, hoping that someday all people will recognize that black lives matter just as much as white lives. You see, we have to assert that black lives do matter, because there is much in our systems and practices that have for too long insisted that only white lives have value. To say that black lives matter is to assert a truth, even though right now, it’s also still just a dream. Are you willing to make it your dream?
If you’re looking for a way to build trust between the races, if that’s the soil you’re gingerly or enthusiastically tending, then let’s join in the hard work of dismantling racism, starting with you and with me. Just as our metropolitan area has many different experiences and beliefs about race, our church does, too. The difference is that in our church in this Body of Christ, we know that if one part of the Body suffers, every part suffers with it. I Corinthians 12:26
As followers of Jesus, we have promised to love one another. That’s a dream for which we strive, but which we won’t realize in perfection in this life. We have promised to try, with God’s help. We haven’t realized yet. I’ve learned that, in the long run, even when I have an initial passion for something, what matters most is my habitual action over time. To diminish the racism that infects our country demands a cultural shift, which is a long-term project. I’ve also learned that I can make my spiritual soil richer if I will join a few other people in prayer and action.
That’s why I invite and urge you to join in the conversations and experiences that Hilary has been working on for over a year, to begin in the fall, to begin at St. James’s, soon.