Forty-eight years ago Martin Luther King Jr. published a collection of sermons entitled Strength to Love. In this small volume Dr. King challenged Christians to connect their faith to action, which would result in just laws and society for all people. These sermons are as relevant today as they were when they were first preached.
The foundation of racial unity, and therefore justice for all, is love of God, and recognition that He created us all from the same substance and wishes us to behave towards each other with love and fellowship, with tolerance and righteousness. The achievement of racial unity involves practical matters including how to treat racial and ethnic differences that have long been misunderstood (often willfully) and made the cause for division.
In Acts 17:26, Paul pointed out that God actually created all people, all nations, all ethnos from one – Adam! Therefore, no race, people group or nation has the right to look down upon another, since God is the creator of all!
Jesus Christ further negated the division of race and ethnic background, saying:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one (Galatians 3:28).
Whether we are Jew or Gentile, black or white, brown, red or yellow – the dividing walls can only be removed by diligent work by all people following their faith traditions. Apostle Paul’s words admonish us to repent, to practice what we believe by reconciling racial and ethnic divisions; by working for equality, justice, love and harmony among all the races and ethnic groups. We are all equal before God’s eyes, regardless of the country we were born in or live in; regardless of our skin-color; regardless of the language we speak or the faith we follow.
The Prophet Isaiah reminds us that God won’t hear our prayers while we oppress those around us (Isaiah 5:9b-10).
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Almost 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King cried out: “We will not be satisfied until
‘justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ (Amos 5:24)
Let us use our faith to work together until racial and ethnic justice does roll down like waters and we are all one!
Delivered at Racial Unity Service sponsored by the Metropolitan Area Church Council, First Unitarian Universalist Church, Columbus, OH, 13 March 2011