These are the comments I made at our COLORS (Racial Justice Ministry) open house on Sunday, November 20, 2016, on the first year anniversary of my involvement in COLORS at All Saints Church in Pasadena:
About a year ago, I went to the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. One of the exhibits in particular fascinated me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The exhibit was about the different resistance movements that existed in the first century, around the time of the Jesus movement.
There were many resistance movements in the first century that were against what Jesus scholars Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan call “the domination system of the Roman Empire.” However, according to the exhibit, all of these movements, with the exception of the Jesus movement, were exclusionary. The Jesus movement was the only resistance movement that welcomed everyone. (Martin Luther King noted that Christianity was a blend of many myths and influences, but what was unique in it was the social element.)
I’ve been thinking about this in light of my experience this last year working with the COLORS ministry.
On the Sunday after the election, I felt traumatized. However, after hearing Mike Kinman’s powerful and comforting sermon, and attending a COLORS meeting afterwards, it occurred to me that possibly the greatest gift God has given to us is each other.
Jesus didn’t divide us. He didn’t leave instructions on who should be left out. He didn’t make anyone register before dinner.
I believe our strength is in each other. Our strength is in our diversity.
On my first year anniversary with COLORS, I am most grateful for this ministry, and will keep this gratitude in my heart as we move forward in the days ahead.
A PRAYER FOR RESISTANCE
We thank you for your liberating presence here.
We thank you for the gift of this community, for Mike Kinman, and Eric Law, and the leadership of COLORS.
Empower us in the days head to take bold and liberating actions on your behalf.
If there is anyone here who is discouraged, may we bring them to hopefulness.
If there is anyone here who is traumatized or afraid, let them know they are safe with us, and always welcome.
You have shown us that beyond the cross, the lynching tree, the internment camp, the man-made walls, the unspeakable cruelties so many of us have suffered, there is nothing that can separate us from your love.
Keep us mindful of your will for us so that, ending divisions here, we might be a true witness of the spirit and teachings of Christ, who extended a radical welcome to everyone, and taught us that we are all precious in your sight.
Guide us in the days ahead so that our attitudes and actions will be aligned with your divine will. Empower us to resist all forces that would divide us, oppress us, or deprive us of the freedom we need to grow and flourish.
Keep our hearts cheerful, confident that you are with us, as you promised, even unto the end of the age.
A trio of anti-racist speakers who shared their life challenges and wisdom at a COLORS open house in 2015: Regina Moses, the first black female school principal in Pasadena; Shizzi Akazaki, who survived life in a Japanese internment camp; and Lydia Lopez, who worked with Cesar Chavez and continues to fight for the rights of Latinos.
I love you all. You are beautiful.