|Do you have a vision of God’s peace?
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets. Zechariah 8:5
The nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Micah 4:3
All your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace. Isaiah 54:13
Do you have a vision of God’s justice?
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them. Amos 9:1
See I am bringing them from the land of the north and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and lame, those with children and those in labor together ,a great company shall return here. Jeremiah 31:8
But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24
Let us now work to seek God’s vision for the children of our world!
— Adapted from Marian Wright Edelman’s Vision for Children
Love and peace are words our children hear us use often at church and at home, but how about justice? In the words from the prophets above we capture a visual of what God intends for a just world.
“Justice is what love looks like in public,” says Cornel West.
It is the work of the church and of families too! It is long, deep work and it is likely to push us out of our comfort zones if we are willing to open ourselves up to the transformative Spirit of God.
FPC’s children, with the help of Kelly Rightsell, church member, artist and teacher, are creating a mural called God’s Dream based on the book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. We look forward to displaying it on the Elm Street Prayground this summer.
More to talk about
What do we tell our children about race and racism?
In 2017 after Charlottesville it may have seemed enough for white parents to talk with our children about racism. After the death of George Floyd, it is imperative to talk about the nature of structural racism that has brought us to this moment in our country.
We must not only resist the sin and evil of racism, but we must also confess that we and the systems we participate in have not treated everyone as the beloved children of God. We must commit to acts of justice that break down the practices and thinking that underlie the oppression of people of color.
Something to do
Many of us are looking for ways to witness our faith during this time in the life of our country and our community.
Consider joining members of churches across our community at a rally on July 4 at Westminster Presbyterian. Speakers will include representatives of the Pulpit Forum, Guilford County Schools, UNCG, and more.
The rally is organized by Black Justice United under the leadership of Rev. Richard Hughes of St. James Presbyterian, our sister church. It starts at 1 pm; bring your mask and a chair if you’d like one — we will be social distancing. An important parking note: The rally is in Westminster’s parking area, so please park at First Lutheran (3600 W. Friendly Ave.) and walk two blocks to Westminster (3906 W. Friendly Ave.) Those who cannot walk may be dropped off. Water and extra masks will be provided, and there will be bathroom access.
Living Matthew 25
Our Race Task Force is preparing resources for all ages to help us as a Matthew 25 church fearlessly apply our faith to the work of dismantling structural racism. The intent is to help us listen, learn, and act in hopes of bringing about God’s vision of justice. You can see some of these resources on our children’s blog, curated by Lana Burske, director of the Weekday Preschool Center.
I hope you will join us on this journey in July as we live out the radical love of Jesus.
Learning through stories
In the meantime, as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and church friends, I invite you and your children to our weekly Summer Storytime: Let’s Read and Talk About Race Together.
Each Wednesday I read a book from my personal collection from the International Civil Rights Museum. Until we learn about and own our history, we will not have the courage to face it and work for change.
Along with the selected children’s book, I recommend a parent book along with a podcast and article. Find a list in the children’s section of our Digital Formation Library.
Let us pray
Lord, please let our small seeds of mercy and justice grow into great shrubs of change and trees whose branches the birds can nest and in whose shade our children can find rest and hope.