Now is the time for churches to speak up

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, ‘Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?’” (Book of Esther 4:13-14).

A lot has happened in the last three months or so when it comes to black people and black men in particular. The feeling of abuse and injustice by the criminal justice system has been crushing and for many blacks it has given them the feeling of wanting to go to sleep and never waking up just to escape this nightmare that is the reality of the “Land of the free and home of the brave.” Black people have not seen much of either for quite some time.

Curiously enough, the church has been very inconspicuous by its silence and absence in this matter. Yes, there has been some commentary about sin being the root cause for injustice and oppression, but for some that is the equivalent of stating, “The sun rises in the east.” Meanwhile, there are people chanting, “Hands up” and “I can’t breathe.” Citizens in this country are staging “Die ins”, laying on the cold cement in protest of injustice while the church just seems concerned with giving charismatic sermons. This is a far cry from the role that the church, particularly the black church played in the 1950s and 60s during the Civil Rights era. They marched, they protested, they orchestrated boycotts. They were willing to be hosed down and had dogs set on them in the streets. They got arrested and praised God in jail.

However, in recent times, we have seen a church prone to shrink from services that come with peril or loss. The church is quick to come out against tv shows like the now canceled show, GCB or Black Jesus, but when it comes to standing in the name of social justice, the church tends to be mum on the subject. The church is willing to stand in front of abortion clinics in defense of life for the unborn, but there is not much standing of protest in defense of black life being taken without impunity. Where is the outrage?

Jesus said, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” I believe that when the church is more concerned with consulting their own ease and safety instead taking up the cross and the cause of Christ and his people they are in danger of losing their lives in the community that surrounds them. If you doubt it, look up how many churches of various denominations have closed down over the past 10 years. And you know what, the community they were in hardly noticed.

Mordecai in the Book of Esther was confident that God would not allow the destruction of his people. He had a trust and conviction that the purposes of evil men would be frustrated. He didn’t know how, but he knew that deliverance would come in some way or other, if not from Esther. However, her and her father’s house would be destroyed. It was a warning of Divine vengeance. Though the nation will be saved, it will not benefit you. On you will fall a just judgment — having endeavoured to save your life, you will lose it — and your “father’s” house will be involved in your ruin.

I wonder. I really wonder whether the church has considered the Book of Esther and how it may very well apply to them and the houses of their Father at this time in history. Perhaps, God has raised you up to your royal dignity and position for this very purpose, and none other, that you should be in a position to save your nation in crisis because make no mistake, the nation is in crisis. It’s on fire right now and we need as many hands on deck to keep this thing from burning down flat.

This message is for the church. If you talk about being a force for good and righteousness, then you have to fulfill that calling. With great power comes great responsibility. If you are not standing by the side of the oppressed and the marginalized, you are standing in the way and history has shown that whatever stands in the way of justice will be mowed remorselessly down, if need be.

The church can no longer afford to use the excuse of being on their knees in prayer, for a reason of not being able to stand on their feet in protest against evil and injustice. In the Bible, Jesus identified, confronted and engaged evil whenever he saw it. It could not abide in His presence. Think about that. Think about who you claim to serve. If you, as the church, are unable or unwilling to identify, confront and engage evil in your lifetime, in your communities, in your nation, in this world, how can you possibly call yourself disciples of Christ?

Kingdoms and empires of this world have come and gone. For everything, there is a beginning and an end; the chariot of history rolls on. For the church, there is only the choice of being on the chariot and on right side of history or of being crushed beneath its awful wheels.

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