Alternatively: Racial Justice Sunday!
Racial Justice Sunday is yet another sunday during the year set aside for a particular cause. I often wonder why we are still in need of such sundays? How about we just have a ‘be christian sunday’ or a ‘Follow christ’s teaching for once sunday’ and be done with it. What would be really radical would be to follow that each and every day of the year, not just on a sunday forgetting about it from monday to saturday. Fortunately for us Jesus asks us simply to love God and our neighbour as ourself. Therein lies another problem of course, we don’t love ourselves quite as much as perhaps we should! Our Christian practice is not often geared towards reminding us to love ourselves, but about calling us to repent on how bad we’ve been. This then often causes us to try and remove the log from someone else’s eye, as we quickly forget that we are no better. This parable in Matthew’s Gospel is a classic reminder of forgetting to have compassion on others even as Jesus has compassion on us. Remember that Jesus does not ask peter to confess his sins of how may times he denied him, he just asked ‘Do you love me?, and Do you love me?, and Do you love me?’ Compassion as i’ve mentioned before means ‘to suffer with’ and it is not something you have so much as something that you must do. Compassion is always active rather than passive. The master does compassion, he cancels the debt of the servant. It is impossible to feel compassionate, but you can be compassionate in your words and your actions.
And to add to the words of Pastor Niemöller speaking out in Nazi Germany:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out —
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I kept silent—
because I was not a socialist;
Next they took away the trade unionists, and I did not speak out —
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they arrested the Blacks, and I did not speak out –
because I was white;
Then they came for the Jews, and I was silent —
because I was Christian;
Then they came for the catholics, and I did not speak —
because I was a protestant;
Then they took away the poor, and I did not speak out –
for I was a rich man;
Then they attacked those who travelled from place to place, and I kept silence for I had a permanent home;
Then they arrested those accused of scrounging on drugs and benefits, and I did not speak out for I was not one of them.
Then they came for those of us who were left –
and there was no one to speak out for me.
And from the CTBI resources for Racial Justice Sunday
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not go in fear
Of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhibit my days,
To allow my living to open to me,
To make me less afraid,
To loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing,
A torch, a promise.
I chose to risk my significance:
So that which came to me as seed,
Goes to the next as blossom;
And that which comes to me as blossom, Goes on as fruit.
Jesus says do not forgive as the law requires, but forgive seventy times seven: in other words be forgiving with all of your being.
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?