Scripture: Acts 22:21
Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Reflection: Lingering Hope
By John Tillman
In Acts we can track the Holy Spirit’s systematic destruction of the racism inherent in the early church. This is a reminder that we must allow the Holy Spirit freedom to do the same in each generation.
Racism has not proven to be something that any previous generation can solve once for all time. It comes back, season after season, like tares among the wheat. Each generation must root out the weeds of racial prejudices on their own.
In Stormy Road for This Pilgrim (published in 1978), Nelson Hayashida writes about the partial successes of the Civil Rights movement and his hope for the future.
Although our dilemma may still exist in lesser or greater degrees throughout the country, there appears to be glimmering signs of a brighter tomorrow. With the increasing ease of communication and travel the world is rapidly being transformed into a “familiar community.” Generally speaking, American young people today are more knowledgeable than previous generations about the hurts and struggles of the varying ethnic groups in America. In fact, it seems the whole American populace have now a sharper sensitivity toward minorities. They are more aware of the pains and injustices imposed upon ethnics and are voicing stronger disapproval for discriminating situations. There appears to be greater understanding and acceptance of Oriental-Americans today than there were twenty or thirty years ago.
It’s true the American amalgamation of races has not been an altogether euphonious process, but ethnics are here to stay in this country nevertheless. This right to remain and live in this great land is not only our constitutional birthright but also our moral birthright. Racial or ethnic relations in America may not be near what it should be, but when there is an increasing understanding and acceptance for one another among all Americans, hope lingers on the distant horizon.
Our hope is not in a political movement of the past or the present, but is in the movement of the Holy Spirit, that in each generation has stirred the hearts of believers and the heart of the church to seek justice, reconciliation, and redemption in every broken part of our culture, including racism. When the church marches toward the hurting and seeks justice, society follows. When the church stumbles, so does our culture.
The Morning Psalm
Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance… — Psalm 90:8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.