What does reconciliation in our city mean to you?
Our class at Columbia (MS) High School was the first to be desegregated. Years later I learned that it was apparently a “big deal” through a random Facebook post. Like most of my fellow students, I had no clue.
My siblings and I were raised by a single mom. The five of us had some tough hurdles early in life. We lived off a rural highway with few other houses around; it seemed it took forever to get to our house from our small town. Across the highway were several African-American neighbors who faced similar struggles to our own.
This was our village. While we had friends in town, those neighbors helped raise us. We played with the kids whose moms took care of us while our mom worked. If we got out of line, those ladies would put us back in line, and I mean quickly. My mom trusted them with her kids.
By high school graduation, you’d have never known ours was the first class to integrate. It just wasn’t talked about. Not because it was taboo, but because it was a non-issue, at least to the students. I do not recall one incident that was a result of racial tension. From the football team to the student body government to the homecoming court, we were diverse, and our friendships were as well.
Yet, at the town square, I recall Ku Klux Klan rallies. Those white robes are hard to forget. You couldn’t help but see them because they would stand outside the town square right in the center of everything. It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand what that meant.
There will always be extremists. Those rallying for division will always speak loudly. No matter what culture or city, as Christians, our duty is clear: love and accept others, while at the same time standing firm for what is right. The Body of Christ must lead the way in the dark world, and we must do it together if we are to be effective.
It’s easy to look out into the world and assume the worst. Often it’s simpler to assume there is nothing that any one person can do to affect change. That is a lie from Satan himself. We have the power of Christ within us. By way of the Holy Spirit, we have been empowered and anointed to go boldly into the world. None are here by accident. We were placed here by a Holy God for a Holy purpose — to bring Him glory and make his name known.
Let’s do this! We can be that city on the hill. Matthew 5:14 (ESV) says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Let’s shine so brightly we show the world it can be done. Let’s put aside our differences and let Christ be our bond. There is an opportunity before us, and together we can do great things.
We hope you’ll enjoy this special edition. We are thankful for the many who shared with us, and hope our call to action will produce warriors for Christ and evoke saints in the city. God help us as we seek ways to heal and be healed.