I am definitely late to the conversation. While my heart for ministry and justice started in college, my eyes were not opened to racial injustice until about 15 years ago. And even more recently than that…
“God has begun to convict me of the truth that my life and where I am in life is a result of systems, structures and a society that is set up to benefit people who look like me and definitely not to benefit my Black and brown brothers and sisters.”
I am ashamed that I have lived a lifetime spent in ignorance. This has been a journey of confession, lament and repentance; to God and many times to others. As He promises, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:7-10
The Southern Justice Experience is a life changing, eye opening and critical part of this process for me. The truth is that there is a battle against remembering the past correctly. The past is ugly. There are a lot of us that will be much more comfortable if we do not have to look at it or talk about it. But until we own our part in that and journey into that lament, confession, repentance and Holy forgiveness…we will not heal as people, we will not heal as brothers and sisters in Christ and we definitely will not heal as a country.
The effects of the trip last much longer than the trip itself. I am changed because of the two days I was there. I have seen how God has taken this intense experience and continues to use it to reveal truth to me even months afterward.
Walking through the historic slavery and Civil Rights sites on the SJE are immersive experiences in walking through that history. While I have been on similar trips, each one affects me differently. On this trip God met me as I walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. First we walked through the town of Selma from Brown Chapel. We walked the path that people walked not just once but twice as they fought for the right to vote. I imagined the terror of walking across that bridge and was humbled by the bravery, the resolve, the unwavering grace and determination it took.
We also saw photos of the crowd opposed to the marchers and the hatred on their faces was substantial. It made me feel physically ill. If I’m being totally honest…I’m terrified to know what my role as a white woman would have been if I had been alive during the era of slavery or the civil rights movement. Where would my family have been in the story?
I would love to say I would have been on the right side of history.
I can’t know that. What I can know is what I will do now. What I am committed to now.
I will remember the history.
I will continue to learn.
I will talk about it.
I will not let it be minimized or forgotten.
I will submit myself to Jesus and His ongoing sanctification in my life.
I will continue to allow him to correct me.
I will continue to confess, lament and repent and fight against the forces that say otherwise.
I will ask God to heal me rather than fix me. Fixing me is just so that I can look good for others.
Healing me is so that He can use me for His glory and so that I can love others with the love He has for me. And I will ask others to go on this trip with me as many times as I can.
Chief Operating Officer, Transform Minnesota