Sit, Stand, Kneel…what we’re missing
You can’t care about others and not notice the
recent controversy that was started in the NFL and has now spread to other groups much closer to home [into homes and offices and social media]. What began as one athlete’s attempt to bring attention to a problem our country is wrestling with [the inequities of justice], has blossomed into a whole different controversy.
[This blog was originally posted in September 2016. Minor edits are noted.]
If you listen to the loudest voices right now, you’d think the most important issue is whether one should stand, sit, kneel, etc. during the playing of our national anthem. And as a former Marine, a citizen of this country, and someone who was raised to respect traditions, I can understand the view of those who are indignant at this gesture.
As a pastor who listens to and cares for people who don’t share my experiences of country, culture, and color, I also understand the frustration of feeling marginalized, oppressed, overlooked, and worse. That frustration would be enough to prompt any of us to boil over into action.
For reference sake, consider this: What is the proper posture to take when addressing God in prayer? If anyone deserves our respect it’s God. So is it better to stand? Or to sit? Or to kneel? Or even lie prostrate on the ground? Interestingly, the Bible would acknowledge ALL of these as appropriate ways to approach the Creator of the universe. And chances are you’ve practiced all of them. Something to think about as we ponder how to show respect.
But here’s what I think is easy to miss. While many argue about the proper body position during the song, we’re missing the real discussion. And that is, what are we to do about the sorry state of race relations and racial tension in our country? Do we care about it?
It’s a deep and pernicious problem, with roots running into every aspect of our society. This problem has defied decades of efforts to eradicate and resolve it. But THIS is the problem that needs our attention, much more than what we do during the playing of the anthem. I mentioned in this blog a
few weeks back [last year] that how we think about others has enormous implications for our faith. That includes those who look different than me. Do we see each person as having infinite value? God does.
Ultimately the solution lies beyond the reach of governments and social programs, as useful as those can be. The solution is a heart one. What’s required is the work of God in human hearts.
At Seneca Creek we’ve talked over and over about igniting the H.O.P.E. of Christ. The “P” in HOPE is for “promoting reconciliation.” That’s not just reconciliation with God. That’s reconciliation with others. Our neighbors. And you can’t legislate that.
But God can initiate that. And as a church, we can walk together towards reconciliation. A “body of Christ,” a family of brothers and sisters who are learning how be reconciled, learning how to bear one another’s burdens, learning how to speak truth to one another, and learning how to replace the injustices in our fallen world with the beautiful justice of the kingdom of God.
If you want to learn more of how we do that, be sure to join us
in our current series, “Focus.” [each Sunday morning]. And feel free to add your (polite) comments below.
P. S. Here’s some more food for thought from a respected voice in the church today.