This week, we will continue to look at "Refiner" by Maverick City Music. If you missed last week’s blog, you can find it here! Again, my heart for writing this is to open the conversation, stir your hearts, and get you comfortable with the idea of embarking on the uncomfortable, humbling, and long journey that we have ahead to achieve justice for Black neighbors and future generations. Systemic change must happen. We are all a part of the system, and each of us are called to be difference makers - as Jesus was.
If your glory wants to come in
Let it fall, we want it all
Lord your fire is consuming
Fill this place, set it ablaze
I'll be a living sacrifice for you You’re a fire. The refiner. I wanna be consumed.
Rend Collective posted a quote on their Instagram that simply said “Your Kingdom come means my kingdom go.” I don’t think I can articulate a definition of surrender better than that. We need God’s Holy fire to consume our world. We need the white “kingdom” to assimilate to the Kingdom of God where justice will roll down like waters. (Amos 5:24)
“My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let fires of your justice burn
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.” (Canticle of the Turning)
I’ve heard a lot of people who are calling this time a revolution. Many signs at protests have read, “Don’t be on the wrong side of history.” Are we, the Church, on the wrong side of history? History shows that our Christian ancestors have used the name of God to commit horrendous sin (i.e. slavery.) White supremacy runs deep in our country, and the Church can no longer be silent. How is our whiteness hurting our witness? To answer this question, we need to have conversations about what our “whiteness” is. Our repentance must then lead to action.
I wanna be tried by fire. Purified. You take whatever you desire, Lord here's my life.
“You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish - an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you. Through his faithfulness, you are guarded by God’s power so that you can receive the salvation he is ready to reveal in the last time. You now rejoice in this hope, even if it's necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine. (Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.)” (1 Peter 1: 4-7, CEB)
Putting in the work to learn and grow is the only option moving forward. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to be easy. Jesus didn’t promise us it was going to be easy following Him, but he did promise he would walk alongside us. We must be tried by fire.
“How is it with your soul?” This question is frequently asked in Methodist tradition. John Wesley taught how important it is for small groups of people (commonly referred to as “bands”) to check in on each other and vulnerably share their feelings and struggles. Not only did he want bands to care for each other, but he also encouraged bands to hold each other accountable for their actions. After looking inwardly, we must then look outwardly at our actions. “How is your doing?” Where are you doing harm? Doing good? Acknowledging and repenting is the first step, but committing to an anti-racist lifestyle is life-long work. Let worship be our energizing fuel. As Eugene Peterson writes in Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best : “We don’t become whole persons by merely wanting to become whole, by consulting the right prophets, by reading the right book. Intentions must mature into commitments if we are to become persons with definition, with character, with substance.”
A beautiful thing about God’s grace is that it isn’t something that we earn. It’s something that we receive over and over again. We will mess up, but that’s not a reason to give up. We must surrender daily to be a vessel of God’s love, goodness, peace, and justice.
Clean my hands, purify my heart
I wanna burn for you, only for You
Take my life as a sacrifice
I wanna burn for you, only for You
“Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Don’t be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant. But, as obedient children, you must be holy in every aspect of your lives… As you set yourselves apart by your obedience to the truth so that you might have genuine affection for your fellow believers, love each other deeply and earnestly. Do this because you have been given new birth - not from any type of seed that decays, but from seed that doesn’t. This seed is God’s life-giving word.” (1 Peter 13-15, 22-23, CEB)
God continues to purify the messiness that is humanity. The power of God’s word gives us new life and cleanses us internally and that, in turn, enables us to love our neighbors authentically. Will you join me in this Kingdom work?
If you decide to do more research on racism and white supremacy (again, White Fragility by
Robin DiAngelo is a great place to start) and would like to process it with someone, I would love to lend my heart and my ears to discuss and learn alongside you. If anything I have written is harmful to the movement, please hold me accountable so I can learn. I recognized that I would be doing harm if I didn’t use this platform to speak up. We are all capable of growth and living out John Wesley’s rules to do good, do no harm, and stay in love with God.
I’ll leave you with this prayer written by Nadia Boltz-Weber:
God whose name has been used to enslave those who bear your image,
God whose name has been used to steal this land and kill those who bear your image,
God whose name was called upon by Moses and Miriam and Martin Luther King Jr and Sojourner Truth, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
God who raised up prophets to speak truth to power, and poets to speak truth to stupid,
We call on your name to bring Your fierce mercy upon us and remove our complacency and our complicity.
We call on your name to heal the wounds of those whose daily reality we do not understand.
We call on your name to give us a holy curiosity about what being Black in America is really like, Lord.
We call on your name to give us this day our daily truth, our daily humility, our daily rage, our daily hope.
This country is burning, Lord… may it be a cleansing Holy Spirit fire.
Guide us to believe that the true name of God is stronger than what has been done in God’s name.
Come, Holy Spirit.