Did you know that our House of Bishops has a theology committee? They released a report entitled “Reparations and Beloved Community” after their meeting last month. (You can download and read the 10-page report at that link.)
My favorite part of the report is where they talk about what it means for us, as Christians, to passively participate in the sin of racism. They write,
“The failings in our common life are no less sinful if we have not individually committed them: systemic sins are real sins, and complicity is a form of participation in them.”
Even I’m not actively, loudly being racist—even if I never enslaved people or forced someone to sit in the back of the bus—I’m still out of step with God when I benefit from the racist structures in our society.
All too soon, we’ll be in the season of Advent. That’s a season when we prepare for the coming of the baby Jesus, yes.
dBut it’s also a time to repent, as John the Baptist will no doubt remind us in our Bible readings. Part of repenting of the sin of racism is recognizing my passive participation in it. Only when we recognize where we’ve diverged from God’s path can we begin to make our way back to it.
So, today, I offer this prayer to God, written by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops:
Creator God, you call us all your children,
inviting us to be renewed in your love season after season and in every age and time.
We gratefully accept your love and blessing,
acknowledging the abuse and rejection
we as a church have willfully handed out.
We seek your healing streams of life,
aching to honor those whom we have hurt
and repair the broken places.
Abide with us, Creator God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
loving, living and true. Amen.