I teach Sunday school for elementary school students in my church. The ability to serve is one of the many joys of being a member of an affirming congregation, and as an out Christian, I don’t take it for granted.
Today’s message for the kids was a simple one: You can know Jesus even though you’ve never seen Him.
Between Covid-19’s world pandemic and the racial injustices that have sparked protests all across the country, it’s hard to see Jesus in the world or in our daily lives. With almost apocalyptic-style imagery on our television screens and computers, it’s all too easy to feel like God isn’t there, in our midst, walking alongside us through this crisis. After much prayer and contemplation, I have come to the revelation that actually, He’s right there in the midst of the protests and in the riots, defending the powerless and speaking truth to power. Jesus is here, and black lives matter to Him.
Sometimes we forget, but central to the Old Testament prophets, and to Jesus’ ministry that set the foundation of the New Testament, is the concept of social justice. Jesus echoed the teaching of the prophets, such as Jeremiah’s proclamation, “Thus says the Lord: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver the robbed out of the hand of the oppressor. And do no wrong or violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place (Jeremiah 22:3, Modern English Version). We are commanded to execute justice for all of God’s people, regardless of race, gender, or status, and wealth. To those oppressed, we are commanded to do no harm, and instead, to help and aid in allyship.
As the prophet, Micah asks, “...And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, English Standard Version). We are commanded to advocate for justice and to denounce the unfair and inequitable treatment of minorities as we see it in this country. As Christ-followers, we are called to vehemently oppose the injustices of others. So, in the midst of demonstrations and political action, Jesus is there, calling His congregation to stand up against the injustices of this world, and specifically, to say with Him that Black Lives Matter.
As queer Christians, it is our duty to follow Jesus and lean into this work. We must speak out against injustice and adopt anti-racist policies; we must work together as a congregation to fight racist policies and laws, in the name of He who created and loves us all. Our advocacy and our work should be intersectional and intentional, fueled by faith.
Central to our faith journey is hope, and I do have hope that America will bring justice and equity to those who have, for the duration of our country’s history, never known it. I believe that our congregations, no matter what denomination, will answer the call to stand in the face of injustice, just as Jesus instructs. And while these times may seem filled with unrest, I choose to look to them instead with hope and faithfulness, believing that Jesus is moving and bringing change in our midst.
Written by Desiree Raught