A Word About Justice and Reconciliation
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By: Rev. Angela Pleasants, Catawba Valley District Superintendent
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed have clothed yourselves with Christ. That is, you have taken on his characteristics and values. There is now no distinction in regard to salvation neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you who believe are all one in Christ Jesus. No one can claim a spiritual superiority.” Galatians 3:27-28, AMP. I am not advocating we dismiss our ethnicity and heritage. Our heritage, ethnicity, and history shapes who we are today.
February, I took a field trip to a past I did not experience. I traveled to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. I did not experience this past, but I have experienced the aftermath. It was a brutal time in our countries history. It is a pain from the sin of hate, racism, and slavery. After learning more about my ancestor’s history, it was discovering this brutal past I was set free.
And now, as a Togolese, Ivorian, Zulu, French, and British (among other minor nationalities) American, I continue the tireless work for justice and reconciliation not only in the world but in the church. Especially the church. The place where we should be showing the world how to live as reconciled people of God.
In Christ, we live in a new reality. We are one in Christ Jesus. It is more than being equal; we are joined together. True unity is not something we can contrive. True unity is a gift from God. We are dipped and dyed in the color of Jesus Christ, and we now stand, the called-out ones, radically different and bold.
What does multi-cultural worship look like? “After these things I looked, and this is what I saw; a vast multitude which no one could count, gathered from every nation and all the tribes and people and language of the earth, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 AMP.
What can it look like for the Western North Carolina Conference? Please watch this video, and we will see what can happen when we pray, “Your Kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Pamela Shoffner, Chairperson of Western North Carolina Conference Justice and Reconciliation Team, said these words, “This is what we hope and dream for our WNCC to become more like, as a part of our Justice and Reconciliation team mission is that we fully embrace the diversity within each of our communities.”