Sermon Recap for June 12, 2020

Title: The Glory of God, the Gospel, & Ethnic Harmony

Scripture passage: Various

Two questions

Why should ethnic harmony matter to every follower of Christ?

  • The image of God is reflected in ethnic diversity (Genesis 1:26-27)
  • Sin and Satan are the root of ethnic disharmony (Genesis 3)
  • The Gospel of Christ is answer to the root of ethnic disharmony (Colossians 3: 12-13)
  • The Gospel Mission is ethnically diverse (Matthew 28:19, Acts 1:8, Revelation 7:9–10)

What should I do as a follower of Christ to pursue ethnic harmony?

  • Examine my heart & repent where needed
  • Listen & learn to understand
  • Be a minister of reconciliation
  • Pray

To be honest, last week was exhausting for many—myself included.  It was exhausting to read the how my black brothers and sisters have suffered injustice.  It was exhausting to see how good police were lumped in with those who murder.

So I was toying with the idea of not putting out an update this week, since the one from last week was almost a precursor to Pastor Matt’s message on Sunday.  However, I started to hear from various people who shall remain nameless, “What happened to the update for this week? Are you okay?” and I felt compelled to write this short follow-up.

I checked my Facebook feed this morning, and in a strange coincidence, I saw that June 12th is officially Loving Day in several states.  And if you look up the history of Loving Day--and I encourage you to do so–you’ll see why I wanted to get the update out tonight.  As believers, we know we should celebrate Loving Day every day since we are supposed to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:38). In fact, that was one of Matt’s recent messages. However, what you may not know is that June 12th is Loving Day because it marks the anniversary of the 1967 US Supreme Court decision to strike down individual states’ bans on interracial marriage.  It is called “Loving Day” because the couple at the center of the original court case were Richard and Mildred Loving from Caroline County, Virginia.

In another strange coincidence, as I prayed and thought about an example of ethnic harmony to write about for this update, I kept coming back to one of my earliest memories.  I had a bright yellow dress with special hand-embroidery and a white hat to match that I only got to wear on special occasions such as spring holidays or school pictures.  However, my mom told me to put it on one Saturday morning when I was about four years old.  I asked her where we were going; she said it was to a wedding. I remember asking, “Who is getting married?’  She replied that who it was, wasn’t important.  But it was important that we go to the wedding.  I never understood more than that until recently when I was going back through some pictures my mom sent me.

In the stack of pictures, I found one of the wedding!  There I was in my yellow dress, wincing with the grief of every four-year-old who has had to suffer through a long wedding ceremony.  There was my mom, beautiful as always, smiling brightly at the newly-pronounced man and wife. And there were the bride and groom—an interracial couple in Madison, Wisconsin.

What an epiphany.  The moment my mom thought was too important for us to miss.  We went because she knew it was essential to show love and support to this couple as they demonstrated their love for one another.  And this Loving Day, may I also challenge you to also show Christ’s love and acceptance, regardless of race, to all the ethnicities represented in Midlothian…and beyond. 

Noteworthy

Service info!

    You have FIVE ways to participate in worship this Sunday!  They include:

    1. 8:45 am livestream on our YouTube channel

    2. 8:45 am Regular Service in the Sanctuary/Gym

  • Park in the front lot of the building
  • Enter and exit through the front doors (west entrance) of the building ONLY

    3. 8:45 am Mask Only Service in the Senior High School room.

  • This service will have a pared down worship team (keyboard only) and an emphasis on more traditional songs (hymns).
  • Park in the back lot of the building (east/childcare)
  • Enter and exit through the high school doors

     4. 10:30 am Family Service in the Middle School Room (upstairs)  NOTE THE TIME CHANGE!!!

  • This service is geared toward families with young children
  • Bring a blanket and sit on the floor with your kids because this service is “wiggle-friendly”
  • Park in the back lot of the building (east/childcare)
  • Enter and exit through the main east entrance (childcare doors) ONLY

     5. 11am Regular Service in the Sanctuary/Gym

  • Park in the front lot
  • Enter and exit through the front doors (west entrance) of the building ONLY

Request

In addition, since we have added so many new options for worship, we need new greeters.  Research shows it is important that we have people in place to help answer questions and make people feel welcome. Even with all the COVID restrictions in place, we had at least one new family attend last Sunday!  Please respond to this email (click here) if you are able to help us greet at any of our in-person worship services this Sunday. 

Small/LIFE Groups

Several small groups are also beginning to meet again on Sunday morning in person including the Women’s group, the Ambassador class, and the BeVier’s class, so check with your group leader to see if yours is included.

Blankets for BESTWA

Candi Summers and the team at BESTWA has asked to help provide new linens for BESTWA’s clean birth initiative.  Our goal is to collect 100 receiving blankets and 50 twin sheets. To support this goal, MBC Women will make our next Coffee and Conversations event on Sunday, July 12 from 7-8:30 pm a sewing session to help those who don’t know how to sew a receiving blanket and to provide a place to spread out and construct blankets for those who do.  If you are unable to join us on the 12th, please consider donating a receiving blanket (flannel is preferred) or twin sheet (cotton is preferred).  They can be new or gently-used.  Bring your donations and leave them in the Pack-n-Play that is part of the “Blankets for BESTWA” display in the Hub. Andy Perkins will be taking them when he goes back to Liberia in September (Lord-willing).

Final thoughts

We don’t have much credibility as Christians if we send money and supplies to missionaries in other continents, but we don’t demonstrate God’s love and acceptance to our neighbors here in Midlothian.  This is not about taking a side against police.  Many police officers marched with us last Saturday and Sunday at events here in Midlothian.  This is about ethnic harmony and racial reconciliation—ideals we are called to as believers.  So make the effort.  Take on what may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first.  Pray. Listen. Really try to listen.  Examine your heart.  Take steps to reconcile with “brothers of different colors” when needed. #Bethechange that Midlothian and the rest of the world so desperately need to see right now.

In service to Him and to you,
Heather Hogue