It is essential that we notice how we have been changed and how we have worked to change ourselves if we are to truly become anti-racists building the Beloved Community. If we want to change our world, we first must live, move and become the change we wish to see. Then we have to look again to make sure we’re still following our leader, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. The Apostle Paul teaches that Jesus’ love looks out for the well-being of others first. Jesus came to earth to show every woman, man, and non-binary person that they matter, and that God accepts and loves them.
Are we being transformed into Christ’s likeness? This is important because transformation, not happiness nor sinlessness, is the goal of following Christ. We are wired to reflect the goodness of God in such a way that others can see and experience it.
As an African American male born and bred in the United States, I am uncomfortably familiar with the cycles of despair: denial and bargaining, rage and isolation, then the numbing depression that often accompany deeper revelations of racism. Although these emotions and a myriad of others might feel insurmountable right now, they will get lighter over time if we all continue to lift. I know, lifting our world to better reflect the light of God’s glory doesn’t seem at all achievable. Yet deep down, we each know that a light burns brightly inside of us as well as within all others the world over! We also know we’ll need adequate elbow grease to successfully build and run the Beloved Community.
Rev. Jonathan Betts Fields, Youth Pastor at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, MI, received his B.A. from Howard and his M.Div from Harvard. We are immensely grateful for Jonathan’s involvement since 2018.