Matthew Harrison, President of the network of churches we belong to (The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod) says: Racism is not acceptable anywhere, especially in the church. Jesus Himself says to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and did so precisely while rejecting racial preference. (Luke 10:25–37)
Let's not make this a mission trip moment - a cultural pit-stop filled with euphoria over an event or even series of events. Let's not be inspired for a moment today and go back to whatever "normal" is, tomorrow. Let's commit not to look to our own good, but to the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:2)
So, let's ask a hard question: when it comes to incidental, event-based, and systemic racism - how do we begin loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus?
Let's ask Jesus.
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
- Jesus in John 13:34
And let's ask Missionary Paul.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.
Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from 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 people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
- Missionary Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:15-20
What could this look like?
When it comes to all forms of racism, loving others as we have been loved by Jesus doesn't (and shouldn't) look the same for everybody. But it does mean that we show up.
It is also undeniable that love is an action because God is love. (1 John 4:7-21) And, God in Jesus shows up and demonstrates the greatest act of love by giving His life on the cross for the world.
For some, love will look like gently and directly speaking up and advocating for people. Others choose to work toward changing broken systems. Yet, others are simply friends who come alongside of each other and do life together.
I recently heard that hospitality is putting all of you aside for somebody else. Perhaps the first step toward diffusing racism is that we begin to listen hospitably to somebody else. Trade our periods for question marks. Be curious and ask questions. Then be still and quiet. Listen - not to respond, but rather to understand. To feel. To be present as Jesus is present.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Missionary Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
When it comes to incidental, event-based, and systemic racism - what could loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus look like for you?
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.