Never was this more blatantly evident than the bold statement made by the believers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Even Southern Living magazine, August 2015 issue picked it up …
“the horrific shooting that took the lives of nine churchgoers threatened to rip the city of Charleston, South Carolina, apart … but by responding with public displays of compassion, love and unity, Charleston has shown us how to move forward. Instead of riots, there were church services and vigils all over town.”
They modeled for the world –
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3: 12-13
The believers in Charleston forgave the murderer, but not without huge personal cost. They still have to live with the loss of their loved ones. They still have to go on with life in their absence. They still have to live with the memory of that night. There is a price.
It is the very same price God paid on our behalf. It does not take extensive research to realize that the idea of racial unity comes from the very heart of God. God, in Christ, came to reconcile humankind to Himself. The huge schism between God and man, that resulted from man’s rebellion at the Fall, needed a bridge. Jesus, the God man, became that bridge by giving His life on the cross to pay the penalty of death that sin‘s breech with God required. His sacrifice was a high price with great personal cost – his own blood.
Jesus Christ is the Bridge. And when we as individuals are reconciled to God, then we can join Him, just as our brothers and sisters did in Charleston. Jesus prayed for all believers in John 17:21 " that all of them would be one..so that the world may believe that you have sent me." One of the greatest apologetics for the the Deity of Christ is the unity of believers. This was modeled by the Christians in Charleston and the world was watching.
“God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them…and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors …imploring others to be reconciled to God.”2 Corinthians 5:17 -20
Being a bridge for racial unity is a concrete application of Paul’s words – gospel first, then reconciliation.
This is actually happening currently in our time and in our location…
LaTasha Morrison, who serves in ministry in Austin, TX is the founder of “Be the Bridge”. She developed The Bridge Guide for 8 week small group discussions.Check out her site for more ideas and information http://www.latashamorrison.com
Backyard conversations in College Station are offering the beginning of a way to “be the bridge”. A group of pastors’ wives are a catalyst for round table conversations to offer bridge building in their community.
AWMP – Professional Women’s Ministry group hosted a luncheon in Dallas recently for the purpose of having an intentional conversation about racial unity with a panel of 4 African Americans and 2 Caucasians. Each panel member had a chance to tell their story and their challenges to a mixed audience – half white and half black. It was a powerful time of realizing how badly we all, whether black, white, Indian, Hispanic, Asian want to be a part of “being a bridge”… enough of the schisms and gaps.
Paul wrote to the church Galatians 3:26-28 "You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ…there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Be the bridge by initiating the conversation. Check out the facebook sites… get involved, pray, step out on the edge, be the bridge.
Be the Bridge: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BetheBridge/