I Have A Dream

Devotional 5 of 10

by Mekdes A. Haddis

Pray

Dear Lord, thank you so much for your kindness that leads us to repentance. Teach us to listen to others who don’t look like us. Help us discern your ways and live out your kindness. May our light shine so bright that others want to be a part of it.

Read

Micah 6:8

No, the LORD has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.

Reflect

We’ve seen the black-and-white TV images. We’ve heard the boldness in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s voice. He gave the speech with conviction and courage, believing it to be a message from God to America.

“I have a dream …”

On that day in Washington, DC, more than 200,000 people—black and white, rich and poor, old and young, citizens of the United States—marched for freedom and equality. There was a sense of unity among the attendees that was bolstered by King’s message.

These days, when it comes to seeking justice, unity in the body of Christ is hard to find. Everything seems divisive. People can’t talk about race without anger and bitterness toward one another. We might mention Christ’s work of peace and justice, but many nonbelievers are left wondering if we believe what we say. As our nation groans for peace and many look to the church for answers, it is an opportune time to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ through our unity with one another.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for his followers, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” And he wasn’t just praying for Peter, James, John, and the others who were with him. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20–21 ESV). That’s us. Jesus made it evident that our unity with one another and our engagement with the world is a way for the good news to pierce the hearts of those who are waiting on the outside, wondering if it’s safe for them to join his family.

Jesus came to earth to reconcile our broken relationship with the Father and with one another. As believers who have come to God by accepting the free gift of grace through Christ Jesus, we are expected to extend the same gift to others, allowing them to experience the love, joy, and peace he provides. As we strive toward racial reconciliation and justice in this world, we join Jesus in his restorative ministry.

Racial reconciliation is a messy but beautifully rewarding work. When we engage in it, we grow in our knowledge of the God who values justice, yet shows loving mercy. We learn to rely humbly on the Lord for strength beyond our own.

May the Lord raise up people who lead us with the conviction that Martin Luther King showed. May we be a bright light to our lost world.

Respond

Questions for personal thought or group discussion:

1.     Why do you think it could be valuable to have ongoing racial reconciliation conversations among believers within the church?

2.     Would you be willing to have a conversation about your differences and similarities with a person of another color or culture? What experiences and feelings influence your answer? What challenges and blessings could you expect?

3.     What grade would you give the church in America today in the matter of unity among different ethnic groups? What steps could you take to promote greater unity?

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