A New Opportunity
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he, that soweth to his fresh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:1-10, KJV).
The Apostle Paul makes an appeal to those who are in relationship to Christ to extend a hand to aid those who are burdened.
The current tensions in our country and in our world cries out for a radical change, one that will produce healing (racially, physically, economically, and above all, spiritually). While many attempts are being made by all segments of society to produce such a change, the Church (the Body of Christ) is equipped to ensure the needed results.
Only the church can address the spiritual healing that's needed, and once that healing happens, the other ills can be addressed. Our country has been afforded a new opportunity! When opportunity presents itself ("As we have therefore opportunity" … Gal. 6:10) it must be seized and not wasted. While we collectively seek to advance in this new opportunity, it does require an individual assessment by all that seek to fulfil the law of Christ.
As we reflect upon Black History in America throughout this month of February, 2021, it is important to embrace our conviction(s) born through our relationship with Christ. While we are challenged to denounce racism and injustice in all forms; I offer, that no other ethnicity has been introduced to the American culture like that of blacks, negros, coloreds, African Americans (names that identify black ethnicity); which continue to bear the burden of racism and inopportunity. Those of us who know Christ must begin with acknowledgment that this issue has a perpetual negative impact, and we must commit to correct it.
This past year of 2020 has raised the conscience of many around the racial divide that continues to plague our nation and world.
Some have chosen to detach themselves from it because of geographical boundaries, economic walls, or the self-denial that such conditions are true. I recently was made aware of a video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose relationship with our denomination (ABC-USA) is lauded as a pass to validate the absence of racism, and the dismissal of perpetuating such practice(s). In this video Dr. King address a tentacle of systemic racism germane to our geographical region.
The following is the direct quote of the video referenced:
[At a small church in Mississippi in 1968] “At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress, our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its White peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
"But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm and they are the very people telling the Black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. This is what we are faced with and this is a reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we’re coming to get our check.”
Our opportunity is just that, OUR’S!
Does the communion of our Faith raise the conscience to respond to this new opportunity?
Do we sit silently and allow others to act? Do we feel any sense of responsibility to grab hold of this OPPORTUNITY? Let us answer the questions together, beyond just a written answer, let us respond through action.
God of Grace, thanks are extended to you for granting us a new opportunity to shoulder the burden of those that are oppressed. I pray that the Holy Spirit might work on us, that we all might do the work. Amen.
Rev. Rodney G. Perry
Senior Pastor of Central Baptist Church
Missions & Ministry (Denver Cluster)
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains