July 15th 2016 1 comment so far
As I have been reading many posts on Facebook following the tragedies of this past week, one quote has kept rattling in my brain. Martin Luther King famously said, “The most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” That thought makes me sad, and I am thankful that we have made progress since Dr. King’s day. But we still have quite a way to go. Maybe this is why I love Saturdays so much! Every Saturday, I get to drive 28 miles south of Frisco and “be church” at C-Kids, our weekly Bible club for children in South Dallas.
Every weekend, a team of adults from Stonebriar and a few other churches in the area come together at C-Kids for one reason: to love on kids and share the love and hope of Christ in word and deed. Though from the outside we don’t look like it, we are a family. Some of us are teens, some early 20’s, some in our 30’s and 40’s, and some grandparents. Some are married, some are single, some have kids, some don’t. Our skin tones and cultures are just as diverse. We are all different, and yet you can feel and see the love and joy we have as we unite together as family with a common purpose.
For we are a family related by blood—the blood of Jesus, and we gather to love Him and love our neighbor. At C-Kids, those little neighbors grow up in a community of 97% single-parent families, and more than 50% are grandparents raising these kids. Many of our kids who come on Saturdays are out on the streets at all times of day and night with all kinds of influences pulling for their allegiance. Our prayer is that God would take two little hours on a Saturday and multiply it out in their lives. For the 166 hours each week we are not there, they see drugs, violence, gangs, and apathy. They are desperate to feel safe, loved, and valued.
As I reflect on this past week and all its violence and hatred, my heart breaks. The issues of our world are confusing and complicated and ugly. Yet the calling He has given us is simply stated: love Him and love one another. If everyone would do those two things, oh, how different our community, nation, and world would be. I can’t fix all the issues of this world, but I can make a choice as to how I will live my life each day.
As I was talking with one of our precious C-Kids moms on Saturday, we shared tears and heartache for the community and for the challenging week it had been for her and her family. Her daughter was working in the building across the street from the ambush on the Dallas police officers. As she stepped out of her place of employment to head home, all the shots began to fire. After a rough couple of hours, mother and daughter were reunited, and both were unharmed physically. A few hours later, this sweet mom received a call that her young cousin (whom she helped raise) was shot and killed over a senseless altercation about a place in line at a convenience store.
My heart ached for my sister in Christ and all that she had gone through in the past 36 hours. Then she looked me in the eye and said it oh so well: “Karen, each day when I get up, I have a choice to make. Sure, I can be angry and frustrated and selfish, but I choose to love. It’s really that simple. We are all made in God’s image, and we are supposed to love each other. That’s what He has told us to do, and it’s so much easier when we do. But it’s my choice.”
It was a special moment for me as we stood in the yard of this little church in South Dallas, with the Dallas skyline behind us. We poured out our hearts and concerns for the kids in this community and the brokenness of our world, where people are hated because of the color of their skin or the badge they wear or their place in line at a convenience store. It is all so senseless and hurtful and messy. At the end of our conversation, we hugged and agreed that we must just keep doing the next right thing, choosing to obey the two greatest commandments to love God and love others. We choose to live out the truth of the Gospel.
So how do we deal with injustice and hatred? We get up each day and make a choice.
Written by Karen Hawkins, Pastoral Leader of Community Care
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