AFReG Call to Prayer
The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers in this era of rising racial and ethnic tensions around the world. This week, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, our theme is ‘Race and Ethnicity in the light of the Bible’.
According to Genesis 1:26, humanity was created in the image of a God as one race with a common ancestry. The man and the woman were once clothed in God’s glory. The fall of man showed the first seeds of division as the man blamed the woman and the woman blamed the serpent. Shortly after this, is the murder of Abel by Cain as discrimination reared its ugly head. Genesis 11:1 tells us that even though different nations emerged from the sons of Noah after the flood, they still had one language and one speech and dwelt together. It was God who confused their language at the Tower of Babel resulting in their scattering over the face of the earth. In his address to the Athenians, Paul will later tell us that God made from one blood every nation of men who dwell on the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. Paul says the purpose of this was so that as His offspring, they would seek Him. We are not far from the scriptures when we say that God in His glory and majesty, wanted variety in those who would approach His throne and hence the idea of race and ethnicity. The variety of species that God created of each animal and plant, is testimony to this fact. It takes all these to describe who God is.
Sadly, as humans, we tend to despise difference in preference for sameness and what we can’t convert to our likeness, we subjugate or destroy. The Bible is littered with examples of discrimination both in the Old and New Testaments based on the broader categories of gender, race and culture. In His ministry, Jesus reaches out to the Samaritan woman, heals the daughter of a Gentile woman and associates with the common people who the Pharisees despised. Paul, in writing to the Romans, will argue strongly for our identity with Christ who comes to reconcile us first to God and then to one another. Later, writing to the Galatians, he will argue that faith in Christ removes the distinctions between Jews and Greeks, between slave and freedman and between male and female. John will later show us in Revelation, a restored image of people from every nation, tribe and tongue worshipping before the throne of God. A God of variety finally brings all things together in His Son. Instead of dividing us, race and ethnicity should enrich our language of worship as we battle to describe the indescribable God we serve.
The Bible is therefore unequivocal about God’s love for all mankind and His demand that as His redeemed, we learn to love one another, a sign that would prove to the world that we are His disciples. This is accomplished by seeing the original blue print in each person, the image of God. In this regard, every life matters!
Thank you God for making us different so that we can express your multifaceted grace and glory. We ask for wisdom to appreciate our difference as strengths to be celebrated and not weaknesses to be eliminated.
God forgive us for our prejudices and discriminatory tendencies. Search our hearts for how we may do this specifically and in ever so subtle ways.
Father God we pray for strength to obey the new commandment to love one another. Pray we would also demonstrate Your love for the world by opening our hearts to those around us. We You to show us specific people to whom You are sending us as an Ambassador to take Your love.