June 8

by Pastor Jonna

Read: John 16:5 – 16

March was the beginning of a profound season in our lives and in the lives of all people around the globe. Coronavirus disoriented and disrupted our lives so entirely, that we came to believe that it would be the headline of every news story until life was finally back to “normal.”

Two weeks ago, we were proven wrong. We saw new news reports. We heard calls to action. We saw or went to rallies and protests. We spoke to our friends about race and racism. We heard the voices of those who have been crying out for hundreds of years.

I watched an interview with an African American pastor in the Bay Area, who said that he is beginning to hope that real change, systemic change, might actually be possible this time. He had not seen a response such as this in his life, nor has our nation seen such a response, to support and defend the lives of African Americans. He said that he has begun to hope.

As I have listened, watched, read, and prayed, it has become clear to me that the Holy Spirit is doing something particular and new in the church in this season. I say this because I see John 16:8 – 11 playing out before our eyes and in our hearts. The Spirit is doing a work of conviction of sin and of righteousness in our nation and in the church.

Conviction of sin and of righteousness is a work of the Holy Spirit. Throughout our lives, we have felt this, deep within our bones. When we have confessed our sin to someone close to us (perhaps through many tears), we have felt the presence of the Spirit healing us. When we have finally done what is right, perhaps in the face of painful consequences, we have known the affirmative “yes” within us.

As adults, we have largely lost the practice of confession. We think, If I confess, they will know the evil that is inside me, and I don’t want that! Sound familiar? I feel the same way. But the truth is, God sees our sin, and often people do too, even if we don’t confess. The character of our heart overflows into our actions. There is no hiding.

In an effort not to hide from you, I feel compelled to confess some of how the Spirit has convicted me these past two weeks. I confess that I have been very comfortable with my privilege. I confess that I have known some of the inequities that exist between whites and African Americans, and I have not done anything about it. I confess that my heart had not been broken by their stories of injustice. I confess that I have been a part of a system that has not treated African Americans and other minority groups with equal dignity. I confess and I repent.

O God, guide me, guide all of us to see the image of God in every human being. Convict our hearts in regard to the sin and unrighteousness that we have often overlooked. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours. Change our hearts, that they may be like Jesus’. May the change of our hearts overflow into love for our neighbor. Guide us and guide our leaders, that each person will be treated with dignity and love. Heal our systems and heal our land. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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