This Sunday, Christian communities across the country will hear Jesus’s familiar teachings on the Good Samaritan in our assigned reading. In this story Jesus of Nazareth challenges us to show mercy to those we may not see as our neighbor.
This lesson seems especially apt in light of the awareness of racism in our country. A division that, although it has been around for years, was made more aware through the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile. If we don’t speak out against racism it will not end.
The Church is called to be the living and breathing Body of Christ, it is our mandate to continue in the healing and reconciling ways of Jesus of Nazareth in our neighborhoods today. We cannot sit idly by in the face of racism and violence. To do so is to ignore the very purpose for which we were created: reconciliation and healing.
We have spent too many years “passing by on the other side” and ignoring the ills of racism as if they did not affect us. Every time we neglect to use an opportunity to speak out against racism we are saying that it does not deserve our time – this is an affront against all. The pain of racism and division does not just hurt those lying dead on the ground, it enslaves us all in a cycle of fear and retribution, one that will only be healed by the love of God. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “hate won’t drive out hate, only love can do that.” It is time that we become radical agents of love and this will begin when we embody the challenging way of Jesus.
It is time to ask our communities to move past their prayers and pledge their lives. Jesus’s parable calls us to build relationships with whom we have neglected to see as our neighbors. And, in some cases this may require crossing more than the street. In fact, it may be necessary to leave your town to encounter those whom we have failed to see as our neighbor but we must take this action. This is our crisis whether or not you see it on a daily basis. Here are ways we can combat violence today.
- Work with your police force to demand that they will work towards ending racial discrimination.
- Join a local Black Lives Matter chapter in your area.
- Identify the groups in your neighborhood that are addressing racial discrimination/criminal justice reform and ask them how you can support their work.