For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
Dear friends and members,
This past week has been a deeply saddening time for us all. On the one hand, we are still living through a pandemic while on the other hand, there has been an uprising of voices and rallies of people for justice and anti-racism. In a way, I wondered which is more harmful to humanity as a whole: an uncontrolled virus that could kill a physical body, or the psychological toll of long-term cultural and institutional racism? Although death is the end of our existence in this world and thus a serious matter to all, racism is a spiritual disease and source of ongoing pain, suffering and tragedy for all of us.
The danger of cultural and institutional racism is that the members of the community or the nation are often unable to identify and acknowledge its existence within themselves because it has already become somewhat the norm within their society. Even when learning their history, or seeing their culture reflected back to them, it is already tainted with bias and prejudices and therefore not truthful.
In the US, racism exists within and across many groups, but the relationship and history between white and back Americans is incredibly unique. Though other ethnic groups came to the US voluntarily for many different reasons, a significant number of people of African heritage were originally brought to the US forcefully and treated like domestic animals. In my observation, there is still mild to strong discrimination against black Americans by the majority of white people in the US, either consciously or unconsciously. At the same time, I also see a deep pain accompanied with anger in the minds of many African Americans. We need to undo this cultural and institutional racism instilled in the minds of white people by providing a truthful history while also consoling and comforting the suffering hearts of black people by acknowledging the truth.
In the Bible, God uses this phrase both in Isaiah and in Revelation, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth …” Both literally and spiritually, it means a total transformation or a complete reformation of both values and priorities. This is required and necessary because culturally and institutionally, we all are born into a system that emphasizes the materialistic value and priority as real while treating the spiritual value and priority as unreal or not practical. In order for us to unite with our Creator, we need to transform our cultural and institutional values and priorities! Perhaps, anti-racism and bringing justice and truth to all could be our first step as humans toward unity with our Creator.
Blessings, Rev. Lee