Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
Honoring God is loving and serving all
Rev. Raafat L. Zaki
1 Corinthians 4:1–2
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
Reflection: Faithfulness is measured not only by our commitment to God, but also by our service to one another. Love and service are intertwined concepts: We serve whom we love, and we love whom we serve. With the unconditional blessings of life and sacrificial love of God revealed in Jesus Christ, our love and service to one another are in fact love and service to God, in whose image all humanity is created.
As a necessary corollary, dehumanization and discrimination against any human being are offenses against God the creator. Just as Genesis calls us stewards of God’s creation, the Apostle Paul writes that we have been entrusted as stewards of the gospel and God’s mysteries. When we buy into and perpetuate systems built on racism and xenophobia, we show ourselves to be untrustworthy stewards and betray the gospel of Jesus Christ.
False religiosity and pride mislead us to compromise or distort our stewardship. They cause us to ostracize, harm, control, or manipulate others. Sometimes we assume racial, ethnic, or cultural superiority. These are the times when Christ calls us to repent. The Holy Spirit is ever reminding us that no one has exclusive rights to God’s mysteries or promises. No one person, race, culture, or ethnicity could ever claim a monopoly on God’s blessings.
Action: Take some time today for self-examination. How does your racial identity affect the way you treat others? In what ways do you intentionally or unintentionally perpetuate racist systems or buy into false homogenizing concepts like whiteness? Allow yourself to confess, repent, and ask for the Spirit’s help to live as a faithful steward and servant.
Prayer: Holy God — Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all creation — forgive us when we fear the unknown and meet strangers with hate. Forgive our sinful pride and prejudices, forgive our racism and xenophobia. We humbly repent and turn back to you. Help us, Creator God, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to love our enemies, to befriend the stranger, and to show hospitality to the outcast. Amen.
Rev. Zaki is a transformational leader in social witness and just-peacemaking. He is a Teaching Elder and has served in leadership positions with all four councils of the PC(USA). Currently he serves church and society as Synod of the Covenant Executive.
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.