Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
Reflecting the glory of God
Rev. Ginna Bairby
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Reflection: Racism is perhaps the most pernicious form of violence in our world today.
Sometimes the violence of racism is explicit. A white police officer shoots an unarmed black teenager. A Latina girl is bullied in her elementary school by classmates telling her to “Go back where you came from.”
But often, the systemic violence of racism is implicit and hard for a (white) observer to see. It’s in the redlining that prohibited people of color from living in certain neighborhoods. It’s in the microaggressions: the black woman who repeatedly asks her white co-workers not to touch her hair, or the Asian-American man who is asked, “But where are you from really?” It’s in the devaluing comments from white people who insist, “But I don’t see color!”
God sees color. God paints in color. God delights in the vast diversity of humans God has created.
The heavens declare the glory of God; all of creation bears witness to God’s handiwork. How much more then does humanity reflect God’s glory — we who are created in God’s own image? Diversity is an expression of God’s own self. Racism, explicit or implicit, is violence against the very image of God and the Body of Christ.
Action: Today, look into every face you see — in person, in a picture, on the news, etc. Each time you see a new face, silently say to yourself, “That is what God looks like.” Marvel in the beauty and diversity of God’s image.
Prayer: God of all creation, I long to see your face. Not just in the stars, trees, and mountains, but in the faces of my sisters, brothers, and siblings. Thank you for painting this world in color. Holy Spirit, empower us all to marvel at your reflection and interrupt the sin of racism. Amen.
Rev. Bairby is Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Taos, NM. She has worked in the PC(USA)’s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries and served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Peru 2009-2010. She holds an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary.
This year’s A Season of Peace Resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
- What does it mean to commit to Peace?
- Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
- Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
- Making peace by ending violence
- Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
- Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 1, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 6.