What do you do when your home -- the only place you’ve ever known -- is divided? When racism, bigotry and hatred rear their heads in a way that you’ve never seen in your own lifetime? How do you respond to that divisiveness? How do you truly shine a light on what brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ looks like when the world appears to be so dark?
What we saw in Charlottesville was, at the very least, heartbreaking. And the vitriol in response to it felt even worse. As a person of color and a follower of Christ, I have to be honest in that I’ve been struggling to see and feel what community looks like after an event like this takes place.
Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ do not look like me. And they felt a hurt perhaps tangentially that we -- myself included -- always feel. Some of my family don’t know what to do or what to say, how to console in a moment where most just wanted to be left alone.
You may be one of those people who sees the posts on social media or hears the conversations and can shake their hands but not necessarily feel the direct results of the racism being discussed. You can only feel but you can’t know. But you want to do something because -- to you -- a lack of action is a sign of complacency.
Look at Jesus and his disciples as an example of how to reach across socio-economic and racial lines to unite us all for the greater good of the Kingdom.
Think about when Jesus sat at a dinner table with folks that the Pharisees thought he should ignore. Think about Philip and the Ethiopian messenger. Think about Paul’s early letters to the churches and what those churches looked like.
Diversity and inclusion are part of the fabric of our faith and in this moment, we should turn to it not because it’s the right thing to do but because it is a part of who we are as followers of Christ.
So break bread with someone that doesn’t look like you. That creates community. And can make someone feel a little bit more at home in a place that sometimes doesn’t feel that way.
- Ciara Todd