“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” - Isaiah 9:2
As a white woman, I have known much privilege. Until the past few years, I never had any reason to doubt the functionality of our justice system or the reliability of law enforcement. I had no reason to doubt that our system works well for most people – because it has worked well for me. I have been, and still am to a large extent, largely ignorant of my own white privilege.
But thankfully, over the past few years, God has led me to relationships that have begun to open my eyes. I now have dear friends who are black. My husband and I mentor a 12-year old black boy, whom we love as if he was our own flesh and blood. My husband cares deeply for his hundreds of former black students. We were close to fostering a young black boy this year, whom we also love deeply. We know there is a good chance we might one day adopt a black child.
Having these relationships – having my heart moved – has opened my eyes. Let me be clear: I love my country. I have no doubt in my mind about how blessed I am to live here. I know many, many law enforcement officers, judges, and regular old civilians who seek what is right with all their might every day. I know our system functions well much of the time.
But I also have seen firsthand the ways it fails and the systemic injustice that exits in our institutions – and our culture. We can’t be afraid to acknowledge this. It is time to recognize the glaring evils that we have allowed to survive, and demand change where it is so desperately needed.
When the vast majority of our failing schools are filled with minority children, something needs to change. When nearly 80 percent of black children can’t read at grade level by 8th grade, something is wrong. When nearly half of all black children under age five are living in poverty, something is wrong. When a black man is choked to death by a police officer on video and that officer is not indicted for murder, something is very wrong.
There are many reasons why these inequalities and injustices exist, and not enough space to delve into them all here. But the reality is that they do exist. We need to let go of our own cultural perceptions and biases and get outside ourselves. We need to do what it takes to make sure inequality does not exist. Let’s be involved in our schools, our communities. Let’s have relationships with those who are different from us. Let’s love our neighbors – all of them – as ourselves. Let’s listen. Let’s feel what our brothers and sisters feel.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be the first ones bringing injustice to light. We must reflect Christ’s perfect way – listening in humility, recognizing where we've been wrong in meekness, being patient with those who are angry or hard.
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:11-12)
But while Christ was humble and meek, he was not silent. He was not afraid. He was bold. He blazed with zeal and passion, and burned with anger when he saw wrong.
We must live with a “holy discontent” – a burning in our hearts because we have a vision from Christ that there is something BETTER He desires for us and our world. A holy discontent that causes us to look at our cities and weep when we see pain or injustice, as Christ did when he looked over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). We are called to feel the pain of any of our brothers and sisters who are suffering, who are living under any type of injustice. We are called to feel sickened, to weep, to fight, as Christ did.
A.W. Tozer once said, “A scared world needs a fearless church.” In this time of Advent, we are called to show the world that Christ has come near. Advent reminds us that one day He will return again, once and for all, and will make all things new. But until then, we are to be his hands and feet, a foretelling of this reality, furthering His vision of renewal as much as we can while we are on this earth. In this time of Advent, we can show the world a glimpse of heaven - a glimpse of true peace and justice. We can bring Light into the darkness.
I grieve for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and so many others. I grieve for the deep wrongs that exist in our country. But I believe, and am thankful, that right now during Advent the Church is poised to step out and lead in a clear way. We are poised to bring the Light, to bring Christ’s message of redemption and reconciliation, to proclaim that He has come and is coming again.
Let’s join Him now, furthering His purposes on this earth, pointing to his healing grace. Let’s fight with all our hearts, using all the power and authority He has given us to make sure all people are treated justly and all people have the chance to live the full lives God desires for them. Let’s work to make this world a little more the way God intended it. Let’s show this world a glimpse of what it will look like when Christ comes with fire and glory and completes his good work, destroying injustice and inequality once and for all.
“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” -Revelation 21:5
Look around – Aslan is on the move. Let’s join him.
-Blythe Scott is the Operations Director at The Expectations Project in Washington, D.C., where she is grateful to be able to work for justice for all God's children. In her spare time she enjoys thinking about the intersections of politics, theology, and the Church, as well as drinking a lot of coffee and going on long hikes with her husban