Racial Reconciliation and the Sanctity of Life
This Sunday, we will be discussing the sanctify of human life by looking at both the rights of the
unborn and racial reconciliation. Pastor Bland will be preaching on how we can be people who
value life from “the womb to the tomb”. After the worship service, City on a Hill Brookline is
hosting a panel discussion on racial reconciliation to dig a little deeper, hear people’s stories,
and discover how we can take further steps toward seeing this become reality in our church. I
will be moderating the discussion among some our own church members as we seek to better
understand how God is calling us to enter into issues surrounding race.
Why this conversation is important
Racial reconciliation is a gospel issue. Some have labeled racial reconciliation as a political
issue, claiming that Christians should not be concerned with justice issues, that we should “just
preach the gospel.” While racial reconciliation is NOT the gospel, an implication of the gospel is
that it changes how we live and treat others. Because of how Jesus has loved us, we are called
to love and seek the good of our neighbors. In the same way, we treat the rights of the unborn,
foster and adopt vulnerable children, and care for the poor, a faithful, consistent biblical ethic
concerning the image of God demands that we take seriously the equitable treatment of
minorities, particularly those who have been historically marginalized and oppressed.
Loving one another demands we talk about this. The New Testament contains 59 one another
statements that call Christians to radically prioritize others before ourselves. Loving one
another requires considering people’s experiences different than your own. We are one new
people in Christ but that does not mute our diverse cultural heritage nor the unique
experiences we face. In Christ, our unity allows us to celebrate and appreciate those
differences. Part of this requires that we take time to listen to the hurts and bear the burdens
of those who have experienced suffering and oppression due to their race. Galatians 6 tells us
that when we bear one another’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ. In doing this, we live out
his call to love one another.
How you can prepare for Sunday
Pray for humility. Conversations around race can be difficult due to our past, level of exposure,
or even our political leanings. They can expose past hurts or fears. They can cause us to want
to defend ourselves or consider only our own experiences. In a recent segment on the Daily
Show, Roy Wood Jr. explored the claim that Boston was the most racist city in America. When
asking one white man why he did not believe the claim to be true, the man responded
“because I don’t feel it.” Just because you may not see it or experience it on a daily basis does
not mean one of our brothers or sisters in Christ does not face that reality. Let us pray for a
special humility to enter this conversation with open eyes and open hearts to consider the
experiences of others.
Be quick to listen. In this conversation, one can tend to listen in order to respond versus
listening in order to hear. It can be easy to turn our ears off, failing to hear the hearts of others.
James 1 tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Let us seek the Lord
for patience to truly consider what our brothers and sisters in Christ have to say.
Be receptive. As you hear others’ stories and experiences, consider what is being said and what
it might mean for you. Are there certain blind spots in your life when it comes to race? Are
there areas you may need to seek forgiveness from someone? What opportunities might God
be affording you to build relationships with people in our congregation who are different than
yourself? In what ways can you learn more and better care for others with a different cultural
background than your own?
I am grateful to be a part of this discussion and look forward to all that God will do as we seek
to love one another as Christ has loved us. I hope you will come and be a part of this important
- Steven Castello