Not quite two weeks past, the jury verdict of acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case continues to reverberate around the country. In the aftermath of the verdict that for some of us seems horribly unjust, we look for answers, a way to deal constructively with our anger, frustration and fear going forward. Prayer works for some, coming together to be in solidarity with those living at risk in our country because they’re young black males helps for others, taking political action to confront the country’s gun laws and repealing the “stand your ground” laws in states where they exist makes sense to others.
In addition, it seems to me, we need, our country needs to continue having conversations on race and racism. For members and friends of faith communities, they need to be sacred conversations. As we confront the reality of racism that continues to exist in this nation, we need to ground our conversations in our faith in a God who above all else bids us to love one another.
Some four years ago, on the 40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s last sermon, representatives of the United Church of Christ and the National Council of Churches, called for a sacred conversation that is “urgently needed in our churches, in our homes and work places, and in the halls of power.” A study guide – Sacred Conversation on Race is the resource to help us move forward.
In a pastoral letter included in the study guide, the UCC Collegium of Officers remind us that “our conversations will be sacred if we trust in the Spirit of the living God to do a new thing in our midst and create beloved communities where, as Dr. King envisioned, descendants of former slaves and descendants of former slave owners sit down together with Native peoples and immigrant peoples and their descendants to share our lives, our fears, and our dreams.”
I invite you to download the Sacred Conversations on Race resource guide (http://www.ucc.org/sacred-conversation/pdfs/SCbook-whole.pdf) and read through it thoughtfully and prayerfully. It will take time, but it will be worth it.