June 8 – God Help Us!

Watching the news over the past couple of weeks has been so distressing. We’ve seen anger out of control; we seen special moments with policemen with their arms around distressed black individuals. We’ve heard people encouraging others to be peaceful; we heard others fanning the flames of animosity. We saw the raw side of police brutality and the rage and grief of racism.

In 1968, I was a university student who worked as a customs officer during my summers at the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia. From our point at the bridge we could see the smoke from fires in the Port Huron area, but the biggest thing I remember were the thousands of cars and trucks packed with belongings of people fleeing and hoping Canada would take them in. We had to erect barriers on our end, and open a gate so the traffic could be turned around and sent back to the US before entering Canada.

Here we are 50 years later.

I truly hope and pray that this time there will be the incentive to correct injustice and racism. In Canada, we can’t point our finger at the US. Whether racism is worse somewhere else or not, doesn’t count. It shouldn’t be anywhere.

The words of Psalm 103 strike me as a prayer of longing and thankfulness for each one of us. We mess up big time, but God wants to heal us. He knows how weak we are. He is loving and forgiving. I’ve put in bold the lines that especially speak to me in this enraged time.

Psalm 103

1 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
(those diseases don’t have to be physical ones; they can be our
attitude and faulty thinking)
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly
.
7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.
0 He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
13 The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.

There is another verse in Isaiah that touches me as well. God was so willing to take the brunt of our sin and despicable behaviour. He took it so we could be healed.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53: 5)

When I look at how God deals with me, how can I treat anyone in a biased way? Yet, when I look closely at how I react to various ethnic people, I can’t say I am totally kind and accepting. God accepts everyone. How can I not? “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3: 28)

As Christians, we need to stand up for those who are discriminated against. We need to support efforts to close the gap between people. God could have looked at me and you, and said we weren’t worth that much, we had gone astray and didn’t deserve reconciliation. Yet, God was willing to suffer for me, for you in order to fix the problem.

Here in Windsor, I’m not sure what we can do practically. Is there an organization that we can support? I know that the DWCC (working with people in the downtown area) and Mathew House (working with immigrants) are supporting people facing difficult circumstances. Recently, LSA helped with a food drive for the DWCC’s Glengarry Project. If you are aware of a group that is supporting any marginalized people, let us know. Perhaps we need to stop being complacent, and thinking we are isolated in middle-class east Windsor and get involved.

Today’s song is one created by Casting Crowns that challenges us in these times.

Start Right Here – By Casting Crowns

We want our coffee in the lobby
We watch our worship on a screen
We got a Rockstar preacher
Who won’t wake us from our dreams
We want our blessings in our pocket
We keep our missions overseas
But for the hurting in our cities
Would we even cross the street?

Huh but we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church if we want to see a change in the world out there

It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now Lord,
I’m starting right here Lord,
I’m starting right now

I’m like the brother of the prodigal
Who turned his nose and puffed his chest
He didn’t run off like his brother
But his soul was just as dead
What if the church on Sunday

Was still the church on Monday too?
What if we came down from our towers
And walked a mile in someone’s shoes?

Hmm ’cause we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church if we want to see a change in the world out there

It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now
Lord, I’m starting right here Lord,
I’m starting right now

We’re the people who are called by His name
If we’ll surrender all our pride and turn from our ways
He will hear from Heaven and forgive our sin
He will heal our land but it starts right here
We’re the people who are called by His name
If we’ll surrender all our pride and turn from our ways
He will hear from Heaven and forgive our sin
He will heal our land

It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now
Lord, I’m starting right here Lord,
I’m starting right now
It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now
Lord, I’m starting right here Lord,
I’m starting right now

Songwriters: Mark John Hall / Bernie Herms / Seth David Mosley / Matthew Joseph West Start Right Here lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

8 Replies to “June 8 – God Help Us!”

  1. Great devotional this morning Audrey. I am blessed by them ALL, but this one was both challenging and encouraging. How GREAT is the love of our God, unfathomable!

  2. That song says it all . Audrey every day you are spot on with the message we all need to hear.
    You make our days easier to face

  3. Thank you for speaking God’s truth about racism! We need to continue to learn, listen and grow to be active allies for people of colour!

  4. Thank you Audrey !
    Your messages are truly inspiring and your efforts do not go unnoticed !

    Thanks again for who you are and what you are doing for us all

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