Daily Prayer :: Wind

First steps on the journey of faith and community

January 24 — We are an anti-racist community

anti-racist Jesus

The Risen Lord — He Qi

Fomenting diversity and reconciliation is at the prophetic heart of our gospel.
We will do what it takes to be an anti-racist, diverse community that represents the new humanity.

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Read Philippians 2: 9-24

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

More thoughts for meditation

Today’s Bible reading is ambitious. It starts with the goal that every knee should bow at the name of Jesus. Then we are exhorted to work out our salvation in the knowledge that God is working out that goal in and through us. Finally, we are told to hold on to the word of life as we hold it out—and shine! God must really respect us, if that is our calling!

In the same way Paul was poured out, we might be poured out like a libation on the sacrifice of faith that is growing in the world and is causing more and more people to praise God. Like Timothy, we might have a lot of responsibility because others aren’t as available or as reliable as we are.

The challenges of being a true child of God “in a warped and crooked generation” become very evident every time we engage in God’s, and now our, ambitious work of reconciliation. In the case of racial reconciliation, we need to do what we’ve got to do to be anti-racist, even if it requires sacrifice or it seems like we are doing more work than everyone else.

[Check out our long-held convictions summarized in our statement: The New Humanity]

Suggestions for action

Pray: Give me courage in my trembling. You have honored me with great things to do.

Today’s passage is exuberant! God is at work to fulfill his purpose: Shine! Boast! Rejoice! Be encouraged! Be full of hope and confidence! Maybe we can’t drum up exuberance, especially when we don’t feel successful all the time. But we can kneel in fear and trembling before the One who can generate some joy and hope. Let’s start with kneeling as we look ahead toward the ambitious goal in our proverb to be anti-racist in a racist society. Why don’t you literally pray on your knees for a while right now? Show your respect of the name of Jesus, the name that summarizes all that Jesus is and does, and appreciate how God has respected you, too.

January 23 — Good news must reconcile

Fomenting diversity and reconciliation is at the prophetic heart of our gospel.
A gospel that does not reconcile is no gospel at all.

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

 Read John 13:18-38

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

More thoughts for meditation

Thoughts from John Perkins: “An understanding of the biblical mandate for reconciliation should begin with Jesus Christ. Without his suffering and subsequent victory over pain and death, there would be no reconciliation of God to humanity. Christ’s agony was far beyond our comprehension, and yet without it we would still be separated from God. We are called to enter into Christ’s pain by taking up our own cross and following the Great Reconciler.

In this journey with Christ, we must not avoid entering into his suffering. Anyone who works to reconcile blacks and whites, browns and blacks, poor and rich, men and women, conservative and liberal, will suffer. Maybe not in the particular way we did back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but in other ways equally painful.

Those seeking to bring about reconciliation will experience hostility. Accepting that fact while working to bring together people in conflict is what we must be about. Because that is what Christ did on our behalf. Reconciliation is truly Christ-centered.

For many Christians, reconciliation appears to be extra-biblical. Is racial reconciliation, for example, truly all that important? The answer may surprise some.

Jesus was asked how it is that we inherit eternal life. He answered: “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Then Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” and he answered the question with the story of the Good Samaritan, a tale of racial and ethnic reconciliation. In the story, Jesus tells us that it is the other, the outcast, the marginalized, the person with whom we don’t associate, and the person from whom we separate, who is our neighbor. This is the person to whom we are to be reconciled, and we do so with the hope of relieving the pain and hostility of this divided world.” — Read more in his book  With Justice for All.

Suggestions for action

Pray: I want people to see you in me and in us — help me to love like you.

Good news is a vision of reconciliation between God and humanity and between all the members of the human race.

Ask God if reconciliation, including racial reconciliation is “extra” in your life. Then ask what you can do to love others like Jesus loves you today. Make a plan to do what you can do, not just what you should do.

Today is Thomas Dorsey Day! Get to know the father of gospel music at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

January 22 — Demand justice.

Fomenting diversity and reconciliation is at the prophetic heart of our gospel.
Racial reconciliation is a matter of demanding justice, not just peace.

Jesus Heals the Blind and Lame on the Mountain - James Tissot

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Read Matthew 12:9-24

When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

More thoughts for meditation

Matthew bookends Isaiah’s prophecy with accounts of Jesus healing a man’s shriveled hand and releasing a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. In reaction to the first, the Pharisees plot to kill him. In reaction to the second they accuse him of being in league with the prince of demons. For the sake of today’s subject let’s consider this: People who break the rules of race and act as healers will receive similar treatment.

But we can’t make peace with our shriveled relationships or stay blind and voiceless in the face of hatred and division, even if challenging the evil is costly. We must demand justice.

Our demand for justice is not merely an endless involvement in the wrangling of the law-making world, as if correct policies redeem (but we’ll keep after the lawmakers, too!). Our demand for justice is more like what N.T. Wright says, ”The cross has won the victory as a result of which there are now redeemed human beings getting ready to act as God’s wise agents, his stewards, constantly worshiping their Creator and constantly, as a result, being equipped to reflect his image into his creation, to bring his wise and healing order to the world, putting the world to rights under his just and gentle rule” (Evil and the Justice of God, p. 139).

God’s rule is justice. Our new capacity for goodness brings good to bear against evil. It is just like Jesus bringing healing, whether it fits into the present rules or is even opposed as fundamentally wrong. Just don’t forget that as there is no reconciliation without justice, there is no justice without Jesus.

Suggestions for action

Pray: I hear you and see you Jesus. Give me strength to heal in the face of sin and death.

Ponder where you have made peace with racial division, where you are resigned to being unreconciled. Jesus broke restrictive rules and entered the domain of Satan to heal. Where could you insert the goodness your carry to assert God’s just rule today?

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