And God created colours…

So dear ones let’s talk about race.

It’s been a few weeks since our world was rudely awakened,  shocked by video footage showing a white police colours 1officer with his knee on the neck of a black man who eventually died of asphyxiation under that knee.

The truth is that the sight of anyone’s knee on another person’s neck is heartbreaking and deeply concerning and yet somehow the sight of that police officer’s knee on a black man’s neck was even worse because it called up memories of so many other oppressive knees.

Knees of casual and systemic bias, knees of prejudice, knees of gaslighting in the workplace and elsewhere, knees of microaggressions and being treated as less than. Knees of injustice – knowing that the playing field just isn’t level if you’re black. Knees of community’s fears for black fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, nephews and sons. Knees of concern that a white-ruled outside world might allow them perhaps 4-5 years of being a cute kid before redefining them as threatening black men and labelling them en masse as drug pushers, gang members, criminals and petty thieves.

And yes George Floyd’s death was a defining moment. Poignant and pregnant. For so many of us, it broke the dam… that moment when a grown man’s plea for breath and even cries for his mother were cruelly ignored. That moment when a grown man was snuffed out under an uncaring knee. And all the while his killer’s hands stayed nonchalantly in his pockets.

And then there was the response. There were outpourings of grief, frustration, anger, despair and cries of “enough”. Insistence from black communities and some of their allies that our lives, black lives are important – that they matter too.

And the insistent cries, protests and marches challenged people’s hearts and begged a reply, none could ignore them and just rest at ease, so mixed responses came through fast and furiously.

“Don’t you know all lives matter?” some expansively said,

“Aren’t you aware that George Floyd was a criminal?” others asked as if that made it ok that he was now dead.

“Racism is a myth” said others, and I’m not even sure what that means.

“Why are they all so emotional, so angry, so loud”. And look at all the property damage carried out by the protesting crowds”.

“Do you know that more black people die in Africa every day” some pointed out as if that made racist extra judicial killings justifiable somehow.

And as social media exploded with a spectrum of views and opinions, podcasts, panels and bloggers hastened to educate and explain their positions.

colours 2And in the midst of it all for days I sat quietly, too sad to respond, too distressed to riot or even put my TV on. And as I roused myself I knew that I had to listen – had to hear precious Abba Father’s voice and get His direction. I knew that I desperately needed to hear His whisper – to connect with His heart and get His take on the picture. And as I did I heard His reminder that I am first His ambassador before any other thing. And He reminded me that He created the heavens and the earth and every single one of us in His own image.

Racism is a sin. A sin against His creation. Racism says others are less than, less worthy, less important. Underserving of blessings, privileges and even of life. It says God made a mistake when He made different races and lives. Yet we know He made no mistakes and that the problem is man’s cruelty, inhumanity and leaning towards sin. It’s white people’s historic enslavement of black people that brought us to this disgraceful place, of systemic injustice, prejudice, bias and hate.

Yet the God that we serve is a God of compassion, of forgiveness and mercy, of justice, love and grace. He calls us to identify as belonging to Him, not as colour blind but colour caring, colour sensitive and colour kind.

To be worthy ambassadors who identify themselves first as His, then bring to the table a rich complexity of culture, ethnicity and even the colours of our skin.

You know at an identity level I am Kingdom-minded first…and even with that I know it’s also true that at first glance for many what they see is a woman of dark hue.

A black woman, yes, and, for so many, that imports a slew of negative stereotypes that they associate with being dark. Now, this post isn’t the place to share my experiences of what it’s like to walk in dark skin suffice to say it isn’t a picnic when your skin means you aren’t allowed in.

So George Floyd’s death marks a shift and a moment – deeply poignant and at the same time hugely pregnant.  George’s death is an opportunity, a  chance to listen, to learn, to understand and to do something different.

I saw a poster that moved me just the other day it said: “we know that all lives matter but, for us, things really aren’t ok”.

Black lives are under threat and that’s the reason for the noise, these protests are our cry for help – our Macedonian call.

This is not self-indulgence or self-pity it’s speaking out because things aren’t right and you can’t change what you can’t see.

And God created colours, He made every single one in His image and in His likeness for His glory to come.

“Imageo Dei” (in God’s image) I challenge you to just think about that the very next time that you see someone who’s black.

FRC as a charity represented by its trustees and leaders stands firmly against racism and discrimination conscious that it is a sin against God and man.

Pastor Pearl Moses

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