Listen, Pray, Act - How to Respond to this Cultural Moment
Dear Calvary Family,
I loved when pastor and author Tyler Burns said in an interview:
“Justice is making other people's problem my problem. People say why should I make other people’s problems my problem. Well, you should make other people’s problem your problem because God made your problem His problem. How are we going to say that’s their problem when that’s not how God treated us? Do you realize God didn’t have to save you? God didn't have to give you mercy. God didn't have to give you grace.”
Then in response, we lavishly share that mercy and grace we have received from God with others, especially those that don’t deserve it.
I shared part of that quote on Sunday morning because it’s helped me to understand a little more about what it means to stand for justice in moments like the one our country is in right now. At Calvary Church, we want the beautiful justice of God to roll like an everflowing stream to everyone that is oppressed physically or spiritually.
Our number one mission is for people to see Jesus and know that He is God and be granted eternal justice through Christ’s sacrifice. We are also 100% called to see people reconciled to one another and have God’s justice be experienced in the world today - His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
One of the most important things we can do to start getting involved in God’s justice is to truly see and hear from people who have experienced injustice. I encourage you to read books, curate your social media feeds, and listen to conversations with people that have had different experiences than you.
The last two episodes of The Calvary Life Podcast are interviews I did with two of our pastors - Courtnie Dowdy and Victor Millan. These highlight the experiences and feelings of a black American woman and a Latino American man who have very different lives but have known the struggles of living outside of the majority culture.
I encourage you to listen. I challenge you to pray.
And then ask God for what He would have you do.
But please actually listen, pray and act.
We pray in line with Isaiah 61 - to comfort those who mourn, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to bind up the brokenhearted, to bring good news to the poor, and to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Pray this way for our brothers and sisters who are in pain right now.
We have a chance to listen and pray next Wednesday, June 10, 7:00-8:30pm, at a special Seek Week Reunion with over 150 churches of Orange County gathering online to hear from a few local African American leaders, including our own Courtnie Dowdy, and then pray into this moment through a time of lament, intercession and hopeful expectation. Sign up online today at seekweek.org
And if your first instinct in all of this is to argue with the way people are expressing their anger and frustration, it would be important to consider why their hurt, pain, anger and frustration has led to this moment. Nobody thinks rioting or looting is a good thing. There’s a host of people - white, black, brown - taking advantage of the moment and committing crimes. Dr. King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” I don’t stand with looters, but I stand with protestors. We are American Protestants. Both elements of this identity were born in protest - America and Protestantism. It’s in the name! So let’s hear from those protesting and take from it what has to change in our society to see His Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,