Monday, January 21, 2008

for Martin Luther King Jr Day

I have been back in the US for about ten years of celebrating this weekend. I really can’t remember when Minnesota officially started recognizing the day. I think of this weekend as Racial Harmony weekend. I look forward to the sermon that deviates from our usual teaching. I still remember the first year when our pastor related his changing views, having grown up in the south and now having adopted an African-American baby girl. It was probably the sermon of 1998. It made an impact for a number of reasons. Our pastor told his own testimony, which was powerful how his heart and attitudes had changed radically. I came from East Africa. Kenya had received many Rwandan refugees after the terrible genocide. My office housed a Rwandan man whom was working toward reconciliation among the Hutus and Tutsis.

If this current mess in Kenya is really ethnically charged (I’d like to believe it isn't) than this is a word for Christian leaders there to take note. For this is a word desperately needed in our day both in the US and in Africa. My pastor blogged on the topic and in a few days I’m sure this year’s sermon will be up to listen to as well. What I want to remember is this:

“What you need to do is press the issue of ethnic ill-will on the consciences of your people in the name of Jesus, who came to us when we were more alien to him than anyone has ever been to us.”

If we are ever tempted to think others are not worthy of respect merely for being different, let us think of how incredibly far Jesus stooped, how alien a leap it was to become one of us, not nearly the leap we might take in radical racial reconciliation.

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