Dear Hope Family,
As with so many sermons and times of opening up God’s Word together, much is left on the cutting room floor – graciously so because we can easily be overwhelmed and inundated in a short time. However, it does seem there is always more to be said, discussed, engaged, and reflected upon, and given the weight and complexity of the realities we were dealing with in Ephesians 2: 11-22, I am hoping to put some resources in your hands that can open the door to that extended time of reflection -personally and corporately.
The first resource is one I mentioned on Sunday, and I think it serves as a helpful diagnostic for the church as we try to navigate living in a world of difference and inequity. It is Bryan Chapell’s continuum of how we process difference in our lives. The continuum moves from obvious bigotry to subtle racism to true unity born of the peace of Christ:
- We have reason to hate them, because of their race.
- We will tolerate them, if they stay in their place.
- We will accept them, if they become like us.
- We will accept them, despite our differences.
- We will love them, because God wants us to help them.
- We will love them, because we need them to help us know and experience God.
What bubbles to the surface when you apply this rubric to your own heart? I am praying that God will move me steadily along the continuum by his grace.
The other resources are an article, a book, and a course of study. All three are are helpful and beckon us to engage the Scriptures and the realities of our culture and church:
- “Racial Reconciliation Begins in the Church” by Jerram Barrs. An article that helps lay out the basic Biblical priority and plan for reconciliation in and through the church
- Heal Us, Emmanuel edited by Doug Serven. A collection of essays from PCA pastors surveying the Bible and personal experience of how the PCA has and is dealing with the call for reconciliation and peace within our denomination and beyond.
- Arrabon’s videos and courses by David Bailey. A follow up to the screening of the film at Hope and the training for the Peidmont Triad Presbytery.
I commend all of these to you and welcome any discussion, engagement, and reflection you would like to do together as we learn to embody the rich mercy of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth.
Grace and peace,