John describes heaven…
"On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2 (NIV)
The word "healing" means a reversal of a sickness. The word nations refers to "ethnic" groups or races. God made every ethnic group; in heaven we are not all going to melt into one ethnic group. The plan is a healing of the nations. If you say, "Well, if they are there, I don’t want to be." Well, if that is how you really feel, then you won’t be there… so don’t worry about it!
Let me say it this way, you can’t follow Jesus and have hate in your heart for another race.
Bill Russell played for the Boston Celtics. He was talking about at time they played in the South. The black players on the Celtic's team, including him, stayed in one hotel while the white players stayed in another. He called his coach out on it – "this will never happen again," he told his coach. "We are supposed to be a team and we can’t stay in the same hotel?" Bill Russell spoke up. Black people have been speaking up for decades while the majority of white people have remained silent. Silence is deafening to our black brothers and sisters. It is time for the white community to speak up at home, the workplace, school, church, community, or wherever we may be.
Once Jesus was walking on the border of Samaria and Galilee. Jews and Gentiles. Extreme racism existed between the two groups. So racism is the social context of what Jesus says in the Scripture below. Like the persistent widow, we need to pray and not give up on fighting against injustice. Pray and speak out against racial injustice.
Scripture: Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
Adapted from Martin Luther King Jr., August 28, 1963, Lincoln Memorial Steps, “I Have A Dream.”
"Heavenly Father, We have a dream today! We have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! In Jesus Name, Amen."