By Captain Lisa Barnes
We live in a world that is hurting and broken. This isn’t new.
We live in a world that is full of people who have tried to elevate ourselves over others whenever we have a chance. This isn’t new.
We live in a world that is up in arms, and unsure of what is happening next. This isn’t new.
Over the past few days we’ve seen an uprising of voices that have tried to belittle and discriminate in ways that are appalling. I think it’s safe to say that many of us have watched the goings on in Charlottesville Virginia and are baffled that people in our current day could do and say the things that are circulating in the media.
I found myself saying, “I don’t understand, but I hope I never understand. I hope their hate never makes sense to me.”
This chaos is heartbreaking. It feels so far away, but friends, it isn’t that far away. Hate and discrimination happen everywhere. They happen in Charlottesville, and they happen down the street in your own neighborhood. Maybe, if we are being honest, discrimination happens in our Corps, and even in our own hearts.
Discrimination is when you clutch your purse a bit tighter when a young brown male walks past.
Discrimination is when you feed the hungry with a food box, but don’t want to sit next to them on Sunday morning.
Discrimination is when you start to think, “Maybe they asked for it.”
Discrimination might even be your silence or inactivity when others are hurting.
As Salvationists we are called to be revolutionaries. Revolutionaries for peace and justice. To care for those in the margins, and to stand alongside those who may have no one else.
Our Corps should be beacons of hope, and citadels of protection. The word Citadel itself is a noun that means “a fortress, typically on high ground, protecting or dominating a city.” Not a building that is only open for Wednesday night programs, and the few of us that gather to worship on a Sunday morning.
If there is any time for us to stand up for others, the time is now.
What does that look like in a practical sense? Go to a peaceful protest and stand for peace.
Open the Corps up for a time of discussion and sharing of our stories, our hurts, our sadness, and even our joys. We have a chance to provide a safe space where we can remember that we are united, even if we are different. We can stand together even if we look different, and even if we don’t all agree.
We have an opportunity to be Jesus in a tangible way for those who feel lost. This isn’t new.
We have the capacity to show love to our communities- in ways they will never forget. This isn’t new.
We have the privilege to remind people of their dignity, and that they are dearly loved. This isn’t new.
Will we take hold of this season, and redeem the ugly for God’s glory?
Act in faith. Act in boldness. Act with kindness.
But friends, just act. Do something big for Jesus in your community today.