The previous few days in Miami had been exceptionally cool. Jan, my traveling companion, and I did not consider it coat weather, but the Floridians shivered, all bundled up in their winter wear.
The prayer seminar had gone well, and it was now our last service before leaving for home. The preparation for the Sunday morning worship service had been difficult, and I found myself at the mercy of the Holy Spirit. (Not a bad place to be!)
During the preliminaries and the praise and worship service, I was crying out inwardly, just for a starting Scripture that I could read.
The sanctuary was packed as I stood before the congregation of beautiful skin tones — from almost white to light chocolate to black velvet. Their faces looked back at me. I smiled and began to read a psalm — making comments as I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit.
Where is the flow of the Spirit? I wondered. God, what is it You want to do in this church today?
The tension within me grew, and I felt helpless.
At last, I knew. (Sometimes it is good that we do not know what we will say beforehand. We might mess it all up, working to be politically correct, writing and rewriting to make sure that we cross every “t” and dot every “i” with the correct flourish.)
The love of God began to rise within me. I spoke from my heart of hearts:
“You cannot really know me unless I choose to share myself — my thoughts, my ideas, and my feelings. Obviously, I am a Southern white woman. I grew up in cotton mill towns in North Georgia. There I attended the all-white Pentecostal churches where my dad served as pastor. I attended all-white schools and lived in all-white neighborhoods. The only black people I knew were Smut and Clarabell, tenants on my uncle’s farm.
“I don’t know if I have any racial prejudice — it has never been tested. I know that at one time I was filled with intellectual prejudice, because God exposed it in a very dramatic way. If I have any racial prejudice, I want the Holy Spirit to uncover it and deliver me. All I know is that I love you, and we are one — one blood. In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, black nor white. There is that one new man created in Him.”
The barriers came tumbling down. My newly found friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord, no longer hugged from a distance. Many smothered me in bear hugs after the benediction. The unity of the Spirit had prevailed (Eph. 4:3).
Jesus is our peace, and I believe that the Scriptures written by the Apostle Paul in Galatians and Ephesians apply today.
Ethnic groups are assuming responsibility for the sins of the forefathers and asking forgiveness for past wrongs done to one another. We are accountable to God and each other as members of one household, and by the blood of the Lamb and through good communication we are overcoming the dividing schemes of the devil. God is bringing His people together. Red and yellow, black and white — we are coming together — and we are precious in His sight.
We are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow citizens with every other Christian — we belong now to the household of God (Eph. 2:19 PHILLIPS).
Father, in the name of Jesus, we come before You, asking Your forgiveness for being intolerant of one another because of the colors of our skin. Forgive us for tolerating prejudice in the household of faith. Set us free from the influence of public opinion that we may live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.
Forgive us for segregating ourselves by color, by a measure of wealth or intellect. We are all Your children, the sheep of Your pasture. You made us, and not we ourselves.
We are one blood, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Who was slain before the foundation of the world. We are baptized “into” Christ and have put on the family likeness of Christ.
We call for an end to division and segregation in Christ’s family — may there be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us we are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thank You, Father, for bringing us together in Christ through His death on the cross. The cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility.
Lord, Jesus came and preached peace to us outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals and so made us equals. Through Him we share the same Spirit and have equal access to You, Father.
The Kingdom of faith is now our home country, and we are no longer strangers or outsiders. We belong here.
Lord, You are building a home. You are using us all — irrespective of how we got here — in what You are building. You are fitting us in with Christ Jesus as the Cornerstone Who holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day — a holy temple built by You, Father, all of us built into it, a temple in which You are quite at home.
Father, You have called us all to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so we will stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. We have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all — Who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything we are and think and do is permeated with oneness.
Father, we imitate You. We walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another]. We walk as children of the light [leading the lives of those native-born to the light]. We look carefully how we walk! We live purposefully and worthily and accurately, making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.
We speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voice [and instruments] and making melody with all our hearts to You, Lord, at all times and for everything, giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to You, Father. By love we serve one another.
Thank You, Father, that prejudice is being rooted out of the Body of Christ, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
James 2:1 MESSAGE Ephesians 2:13-22 MESSAGE
Psalm 100:3 Ephesians 4:3-6 MESSAGE
1 Peter 1:18,19 NIV Ephesians 5:1,2,8 AMP
Galatians 3:27,28 PHILLIPS Ephesians 5:15,16,19,20 AMP
Galatians 3:28 MESSAGE Galatians 5:13 AMP
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