Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Five weeks after his birth, I finally got the green light to visit my youngest daughter and to hold my little grandson, Brooks. What a joy to touch his tender skin, to hear his little baby sounds, to change his diaper and to strap him into a front pack for a walk around the neighborhood. Brooks rolled his eyes when I sang to him, allaying any fears that his hearing was impaired, and confirming that he could already differentiate between music and noise.
Every baby is a miracle. Every baby is a gift from God. Holding a baby has a way of putting life into perspective. Babies remind us where we came from. We can see in them our own image, the beginning of our story; we were once fragile and totally dependent on others. The reality, of course, is that we are still fragile and totally dependent on others.
As we were changing a diaper and admiring this little gift from God, Emily reminded me that babies cannot breathe out of their mouths, and they are legally blind and colorblind. As the news from Minnesota and across the country kept coming in, I could not help but think how much better the world would be if we would just stay baby-like and remain colorblind. Then perhaps the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. would come true and children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.”
But being colorblind should not be the goal. The eyes that God masterfully created for us have some 7 million cones to help us determine color and detail. God could have designed us differently. We could have all been colorblind, or we could have all been the same color. Uniformity was never a part of creation. God engineered the eyes in such a way that we would have the ability to see as God sees. To see the colors of the rainbow, and the pigmented skin of humans, as a beautiful gift of diversity. To give thanks for the variety of humans, as we marvel at the colors of flowers in the garden.
Racism is a sin. Bigotry and hate are signs of a fallen humanity. Sin is always accompanied by natural consequences. The sins of the parents are visited on the third and fourth generation of those who follow. We have not yet escaped the sins of those who founded our country on the backs of slaves. The shackles still bind us, the sins of the past bind us with cables and pull us back into the tribalism of our history. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. We are rendered legally blind when we fail to see past the color of one’s skin.
I held my grandson for the first time this week. What kind of a world will we leave to his generation? “Red or yellow, black or white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Can we love our neighbor? Can we break the curse? In 1619, “20 and odd” enslaved Africans were brought to the Virginia colony, and humanity has been suffering ever since.
May it stop now. May it stop with us.
One day closer.
Love, Pastor Jim