Stepping Toward Racial Peace Building
There’s a beautifully crafted, wooden peace pipe hanging above my father’s desk. Dad was an engineer for an oil company, and he worked with a lot of Native Americans on the oil field. It’s extremely unheard of, for a Native American to gift a peace pipe to a white man, but one fellow employee respected Dad so much that he was moved to give him to it, as a show of brotherly love.
During a visit to my mom’s last week, I stared at that peace pipe, in a time when racial tension runs hot across the whole country.
I admire that Native Americans have a physical image of peace, something they can hand to another person. Imagine if we could be men and women, in this peaking moment of national conflict, who carry a peace pipe in hand, striving for harmony and ready to express tangible brotherly love to people who are different than we are.
So here I am, this white woman tucked up in a very white corner of northern Montana, with a burning in my heart to enter into the building of racial peace. I have to tell you that I’ve looked at the Lord a number of times, since the killing of George Floyd and the eruption of chaos in American cities, and I have said, “Lord, I am so naïve about all of this and so white and living in a mostly white city. And why, may I ask, have you burdened me with this problem?”
I mean, I was in high school before I even met a black person in real life, and I remember thinking, “Wow. A black person!” I sat close to her and leaned in, totally star struck. Wouldn’t you agree that I’m an unlikely choice, to talk about racial reconciliation? (Actually, my cousin is black, except I’ve never thought of him as black. He’s just my cousin, and I’m pretty sure that says something good about my heart and something bad about my knowledge base.)
But passion it is. I have cried over the last few weeks. I have lost sleep. My heart has been stirred by God, to love the black community, so my praying is going like this, “Okay, Lord. What in the world do you want me to do that is meaningful in this time in history? How may I serve the black community? How can I be an instrument of peace?” All the while I have this dreadful feeling that I am going to make a mountain of mistakes as I step forward. But I’m used to that -obeying God and messing up along the way but obeying anyway. And somehow, the Lord always works and makes good come out of my feeble attempts to follow him.
The writer of Hebrews gives this simple command:
Pursue peace with all men. (Hebrews 12:14a NASB)
So I’m pursuing peace, granted a whole lot late to the game, but I’m stepping in. A woman I respect, Katie Westenberg, says it’s worth it to risk saying or doing something stupid, to move in towards people’s pain.
I have made a decision to move forward daily, in pursuit of racial peace in our country and especially among my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I’m going to be journaling about it here. I don’t know where the Lord is taking me, so it’s scary to start talking about something when I don’t know where I’m going. But I like going forward.
Maybe forward is all God is asking of us.
Forward with Faith and Trust, knowing God has placed this on your heart….
Thank you, Christy. Thank you. Thank you for voicing what so many of us are feeling. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, as we each try to find our way to Christ’s love for EVERY body. Thank you.
Aw, sister. I was so scared to jump into this. Thanks for the cheer!!!
I am a kindred spirit, Christy. Don’t know what to do but pray. Perhaps, you can share your ideas and actions so that naive and sheltered old folks like me can do something positive in this maelstorm.
Sheltered is a good word for it, but I believe God has a good role for us to play at this time, even if we feel far removed from the epicenters of trouble.
Appreciate your heart Christy and will look forward to reading how the Lord directs you as I believe your thoughts reflect those of many of your readers Asking God for direction in “what is it that You will have me do during this time Lord?” For me while waiting have been praying more specifically for our Nations leaders in both government and the Church, in addition for unity within the Church among believers, plus eyes to see and ears to hear. Thank you again for stepping out in faith We’re here to follow your journey. Blessings and prayers
Thank you for the encouragement! I know it’s a long journey ahead.
Thank you for moving towards peace and justice and reconciliation. Thank you for listening to Native and other people of color’s voices and listening to what they say they need for healing. I appreciate you.
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