Sunday, January 18
The Lord’s Day
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Minute for Mission: Race Relations
True or false: Race is a social construct. Would it surprise you to learn that this statement is true? Well, it is. There is widespread agreement among scholars that race, as understood in the United States, is a social construct rather than an innate characteristic of a person or group of persons. There is only one race, the human race. Evidence from the Human Genome Project indicates that all humans are more than 99.9 percent genetically identical. There are more differences within groups (all races) than across groups.
Race Relations Sunday is a reminder for us to rededicate ourselves to eradicating racism and to recommit to ministries of justice. In Peter’s “Race Relations Day” sermon, he says, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears [God] and does what is right is acceptable to [God]” (Acts 10:34–35). The Good News Translation of verse 35 is my favorite: “Those who fear [God] and do what is right are acceptable to [God], no matter what race they belong to.”
God shows no partiality—or, literally, “God accepts no one’s face.” It doesn’t matter how you look. The color of your skin does not correlate with your value. Race, this human construct that brainwashes us into thinking that something as arbitrary as skin color, hair texture, and other physical features could make some people more valuable than others and place some people in a privileged category and others in a disadvantaged category, is wrong. It’s unjust, and it’s sin.
We were anointed at our baptisms, and a new humanity, a new people, a new race was created, where all are one in Christ Jesus. So, today we reaffirm our baptisms as the covenant community of God, of every race and people, created equally in God’s image and anointed to God’s service.
—Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries
Let us pray
O God, help us not to be afraid but to risk getting to know each other and to appreciate the rich, cultural diversity that defines our sisters and brothers in the world. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
1 Sam. 3:1–10 (11–20)
“I, the Lord of Sea and Sky” /
“Here I Am, Lord”
GTG 69, PH 525
Ps. 139:1–6, 13–18
“Search Me, O God” /
1 Cor. 6:12–20
“O Jesus, I Have Promised”
GTG 724-, 725, HB 307, PH 388-, 389
“Jesus Calls Us”
GTG 720, HB 269