For the choir director: A psalm of David.
“O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
I’m a news junkie; I have to admit it. The past two weeks have been fascinating and troubling to watch. Several protests started out being quite violent, and then they mostly calmed down while still attracting thousands of followers. Lately, some statues of people who were involved in the slave trade, or in the American Civil War in the southern Confederate States, have been smashed. In Canada, Justin Trudeau, along with many others, says we are systemically racist.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about my own attitude. Am I racist? I remember as a young child hearing my grandfather make some racist remarks, and asking my parents about what he said. They told me that he actually cared for people, but I was not to ever repeat what he said because that was not a loving way to speak. In my forties, our family spent a year in Kenya at the Kijabe Mission Station. My husband worked in the hospital there, while I taught at Rift Valley Academy. I discovered I had a ton to learn from Kenyans. I couldn’t have survived as well without them. I also discovered what it feels like to be a white person in a black country where we were definitely a very small minority. (Although, I admit that in a country that was conquered and made part of the British Empire in those colonial days, many Kenyans looked at white people as ‘ruler types’.) When I went down the escarpment to teach in a small village school once a week, the students would touch my hair and skin. They were fascinated with this strange white woman. From my experiences in life, I don’t think I’m racist. But …
As I watch the news this week, and all the conversations about systemic racism, I wonder what my thoughts and attitudes really are. Are there beliefs buried deep in my soul where I consider others inferior to me? Do I consider other people not as valuable as I am? Do I look at other ethnic groups as less important? Am I a ‘nice person’, but in practical reality, I don’t get involved or care that much for people who are struggling in some way? Should I be more involved? If so, where and how?
This psalm speaks to me right now. God knows me inside out, and upside down. There is nothing I can hide from him. That is true for every one of us. At this time in history, we need to examine our hearts and figure out if we have contributed in any way to those feeling shut out of our ‘white society’. God loves every single person on this planet. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13: 35) Do I?
David shares a prayer request that we can all pray as well.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (KJV)
Here is a song for today based on these verses in Psalm 139: Search Me O God by ChristOurLife