Jesus, the God of Justice and Righteousness
As Christians we worship and serve a God in Christ to cares deeply about justice and righteousness. Jesus did not avoid evil rather He came to deal with evil in its forms. Jesus cared and championed the marginalized teaching us in Matthew chapter 5,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God. (NIV)
Jesus reveals the heart of God the Father. He came to bring God’s good and just rule on earth as it is in heaven. He paid the ultimate price to deal with humanity’s sin and bring His God’s kingdom on earth through is sacrificial death on a cross. Therefore, as followers of Jesus we grieve at the racial injustice that our neighbours in the U.S. are working through and still we know that in our country and in our own city issues of racism exist. In particular, we grieve the disproportionate suffering that Black, Indigenous, and People of colour have face and continue to face in our society.
As a church we want to confront the sin of racism in our own lives, church, and city . We also want to provide resources to help you in your journey towards racial justice. We recognize each person will have a different starting point and acknowledge this guide is by no means a definitive or comprehensive process. We want this to be an aid for those beginning the journey or taking next steps in racial justice.
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. (NIV)
Grief and lament are very appropriate response at this time. Grief is what many of us have felt seeing the video of George Floyd crying out because he couldn’t breathe. We grieve racism in all it’s forms. We grieve that it took another Black man’s death to awaken us to this kind injustice when it had been going for many years to countless other Black men and people of colour prior. In our grief we can begin to cry out to God.
16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (NIV)
Use your grief as the starting point for intercession. Bring the issue of racism in and outside of the church before God.
Pray for healing and reconciliation to begin within the church in Canada and the U.S. between
Ask for God to show your the role you are to play in this racial. Some roles include:
– A Disrupter by bring issues to the forefront,
– A Bridge-Builder
– A Healer
– A Caretaker
Ask God to use this time to refine the church and bring about a more just society. Ask God to raise up courageous leaders to confront this issue.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)
In this Psalm, David invites God to put a spotlight on his life, his desires and thoughts and reveal anything that God would find offensive to him.
This is a helpful starting place for those of us who feel like this is new terrain.
Invite God to search you and test you, to show you anything offensive so that by exposing it you may turn from it and embrace His Way.
Our families of origins
One area of life you may want to reflect on is your family of origin. Rich Villodas notes, “Our families of origin consciously and unconsciously handed us stories, assumptions, messages, and lies about different groups of people.”
He asks some helpful questions including:
1.How did your family talk about these groups below? What messages (spoken or unspoken) did you receive about:
b) White people
c) Asian people (East Asian, South Asian, Asian Canadian, etc.)
d) Latino/a/Hispanic people
e) First Nations/Native American people
f) Middle Eastern people
2. Who are the people you were taught to fear? Why?
3. Who are the people you were taught were beneath you?
3. What assumptions about the groups of people listed above do you hold?
1 John 1
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
Racism in all forms is an affront to the Gospel. It rejects the dignity endowed to each human being by virtue of being made in God’s image. It has no place in the life of the Church and in followers of Jesus. Few would believe we are racist. However, there are ways we have been complicit or silent issues racism because they did not affect us. This is a privilege.
Christians should be the most willing to confess and repent of their sin because we believe that God will not withhold his mercy.
When we repent we cease to sin and carry on in a new direction. This means we cease believing, thinking, doing, living in certain ways and begin believing, thinking, doing, and living in new ways. For us this means we align ourselves with the way Jesus modelled for us through his words and deeds.
In what ways have you allowed the comfort of privilege stop you from fighting for anti-racism both for individuals and through the systems that we operate in?
How will you commit to active in battling against racism your family, community, workplace, and in our church?
Begin the work
Through prayer, the Holy Spirit, and in community begin to discern what needs to change in your life, community, work, church to pursue an anti-racist way of being and then make those changes.
For some this may include internal work by meeting with a counsellor or a pastor, or spiritual director. It may be external work like holding leaders to account or calling people to account. The idea is that this is lifelong work that we need to keep being actively engaged in.
Some of us are very familiar with racism in our lives, city and nation, and others feel lost and troubled by the idea that it is a Canadian issue. The following list are here to help you grow in your knowledge, wisdom, and empathy towards other Black, Indigenous, and other People of Colour. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but a mix of local, national, and American written and video resources.
History of Racism in Vancouver & B.C.
An Interactive Timeline at B.C. Racism: First Nations, Japanese, South Asian and Chinese
BC’s Racist Past
The Chinese Experience in BC 1850-1950 (UBC)
Books on Race, Racism and the Church in North America
Articles by Topics
Quotations by Black and Brown Americans on Their Condition
Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility,” International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Vol. 3 (2011), 54-70 https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116
Aimee Sands, What Makes Me White? Film
Online at https://wildtongues.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/worldtraveling.pdf
Online at http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/12/5047/letter-my-nephew [December, 1962]
Online at http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/message-to-grassroots/ [November 10, 1963]
Give to Groups bringing change
Hogans Alley Society
Description: Advancing the social, political, economic and cultural well-being of people of African Descent in Vancouver and British Columbia.
The Black Health Alliance
Description: A community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of the 1.2 million Black people in Canada.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
Description: Advocate for and inspire women and families of many Indigenous nations.
Urban Native Youth Association
Description: Vancouver based organization with a vision to see empowered Indigenous youth leading and inspiring all Nations.
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
Description: B.C. organization with objectives to provide a central organization for uniting together the Indian people of British Columbia for the purposes of settlement of Land Claims and Aboriginal Rights; relief of poverty among the Indian people of British Columbia, so that the social conditions and life expectancy of the Indian people may be improved; and to advance and improve the level of educational achievement of the Indian people of British Columbia.