Romans 8:18-25 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
So, just sit and wait, right? Things will be better by and by? Or do we do something to make things better?
Paul wrote “… creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God. . . creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. . .” And with the coming of Jesus Christ, the time for waiting is over.
The time for waiting is over. It’s time for standing up; it’s time for standing for change and growth, for taking actions. Of course, that’s true of the work of Christians since that first Easter. We are God’s hands and feet, voice and vision.
It seems like we’ve been cruising along for the past decades, thinking things were hard – and they were hard – but today’s hardis massively harder than anything since our parents or grandparents dealt with unending war. Only in our case, it’s an epidemic that threatens us all crossed with yet another example of cold-blooded murder of a black man, and then the special sauce of greed and anarchy, roasted over a slow fire of poor leadership. It’s a hard to stomach combination. Oh yes, did I forget the economic depression? The high unemployment? The closing businesses? The dropping stock-market.
Our faith was made for times such as these, for it reminds us that there is more to life than stability, it reminds us that stability is more of an illusion than a reality. It tells us we were made to stand against evil by the power of our faith. Our prayers matter. Our witness matters. Our lives will be spent in clearing our world not just of the outward signs of racism, such as segregation, but the underlying sin of racism.
But before I (or we) get mired in anger about where we are today, let’s spend a little time thinking about what we can do today. Because we are not without resources in this situation. For one thing, our faith tells us that change is possible. It tells us we, none of us, were born to live in a hurtful society. That gives us hope; things do not have to be like this.
Now I know we are not a powerful group, at least as the world sees power. But I also know that each one of us does have power. Change doesn’t really come from the wealthy or from the government; it’s started by people like us. Ordinary people.
So here are just a few things we can do: We can refuse to laugh at jokes that put down people of color. We can refuse to use derogatory terms. We can make “not in my house” rules and make them stand. We can smile at people, say something pleasant to that black person in line behind or in front of us at the store. We can buy children’s books for our grandchildren which help them think through race and racism; by the age of 5 our children have absorbed our society’s biases and have begun to think that “the whiter the better”. We can read books like “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” or any of a number of other good books out today to help us understand the pressures people of color – black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, etc – live with.
No one person will bring in God’s world by themselves. But when we all work together we can move mountains, make miracles, change our world. And this is one of those times.
Blessings, Pastor Virginia