“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
It took me a long time to begin to understand the scripture that speaks of sins punishing from generation to generation. Perhaps the most direct example comes in Exodus 34:6-7: "The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.'”
There is good news in that the good things pass to the thousandth generation, whereas sins simply carry to the third and fourth generation. Moreso, do not miss the subtle distinction here, it is the sin that punishes. Again, we may misread this and hear that God punishes us. It is the sin that punishes. We are punished by our sins, rather than for our sins.
The collective sin of racism weighs heavily upon our nation. Giving voice to racial reconciliation is part of the solution. The Episcopal Church has committed itself to this work. The Diocese of Dallas held a "Racial Reconciliation Day" for the clergy this week as a part of that commitment. You may recall we offered a formation series on "Racial Healing" here at Ascension, as well. It remains available through our YouTube channel here.
Meanwhile, the Barna Group and The Reimagine Group published a report titled, "Where Do We Go From Here?" This title captures our collective desire to take some meaningful action with the information we have received. The report includes insights of the reconciliation already begun. It also includes questions that may guide where we go from here. Prayer and repentance are an important beginning. I hope you will join me as we consider how else we might respond.