Just Like Jesus / 21 Days of Justice Week 3 (Reconciliation Matters): MONDAY
With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Invocation: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Word: While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there...Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. (Acts 17:16-17; 22-23)
Below theologian and pastor Tim Keller explains how sin and idols divide people against each other, but God’s plan was always one of restoration for all nations and families.
Every culture that is not based on God will make an idol — an ultimate value — out of something else, and that idol will necessarily divide. If my highest love is my family, then I will privilege my family over others. If it is my business, my racial group or my individual selfish interests, I will privilege my race or my self over other races and selves. The result of sin is that humanity becomes divided into racial and cultural segregated ghettoes that cannot understand one another. Some of these ghettoes are created for less powerful groups by the more powerful. But even dominant and dominating racial groups are, spiritually-speaking, hopelessly ghetto-ized in that we are all under the influence of sin, blind and deaf to the full humanity of people of other communities.
Israel and the nations. The Bible traces all human beings back to one couple, teaching that there is at bottom only one race, namely the human race. “[God] made from one man every nation of humankind…” (Acts 17:26) . While sin continually divides the human race into warring, mutually non-comprehending fragments, this hostility is not God’s will. Even though in Genesis 12 God chooses to bring his salvation into the world through one man — Abraham — and therefore through one family who becomes one particular nation — Israel — God nevertheless at the outset explains that his purpose is to bless all the nations and families of the earth (Genesis 12:2-3). (https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/the-bible-and-race/)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, under the influence of sin, we are blind and deaf to the full humanity of people from other communities, people that are different from us, people who are not like us. By your Holy Spirit, free us from sin that seeks to divide and brings us into greater unity across the color line.