Gracism Creed for Racial Healing

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This solemn creed is to address the deep harm and division that racism has brought to this world; to acknowledge and repent of how the Church has too often been complicit in racial oppression and neglectful of the pursuit of true and complete justice; to lament that pain continues to be inflicted as injustice and oppression toward Black and Brown communities persists within social and political systems and at the hands of individuals as well as social and political systems in the United States (Habakkuk 1:2-5); to heal that which has been broken…

The Lord made it clear to His followers that when those who are most vulnerable and those who suffer injustice encounter the people of God, they should not just be met with religious practices and tradition-filled gatherings (Amos 5:21-24). Instead, those in need of relief would find people who declare as well as deliver God’s justice, His mercy, His truth, and His peace (Psalm 85:10, Micah 6:8; Proverbs 31:8-9).

Jesus personified this dynamic when he declared that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 58; that the Good News he was bringing would not just be in word only (Luke 4:16-20). Jesus’ ministry brought healing for the suffering (Mark 2:1-12), restitution for the exploited (Luke 19:1-10), and reconciliation for broken relationships (Matthew 5:24) culminating in the provision of eternal salvation for the entire world (John 3:16).

We find ourselves once again in a time where cries for justice fill the streets and whole communities are suffering harm. In America, these cries are coming from communities of people who are Black, Indigenous, Immigrants, and People of Color. These cries make it clear that the ravages of racism continue to bring destruction to the bodies and souls of America’s racial and ethnic minorities. Sadly, their calls for justice have been ignored and ridiculed. Those seeking to be heard have been dismissed by the very people who hold the power and have the responsibility to set things right.

Today, we, as the people of God, unite to declare that we hear those cries. They will be silenced no longer. Justice is on its way.

In order for us to confront racism, collectively, we must first commit to uncovering where it still exists, personally. Whether in my private life, in systems I benefit from, in traditions I have become comfortable with, or in institutions where I have influence, like a cancer surgeon, I commit to identifying the pervasiveness of this painful reality, and I commit to remove this corruption until there is no trace left behind. I will not absolve myself from necessary introspection by making the blanket claim “I am not racist.” I recognize this will be a lifelong journey of Christ’s sanctifying work in my heart.

As the nation decides to damn and divide based on political party alone, I will do the hard work to pursue a Kingdom unity with those I passionately disagree with. I will not allow my political affiliation to determine my allegiances. I pledge allegiance to my God first, even if it puts me in opposition to the candidate I voted for. As I lift my voice to advocate for change, whether I am using my online social media presence, protesting in the streets, or in individual conversation, instead of matching the hostility of those that disagree with me, I will match the love and wisdom of my Savior. I will be a truth teller that reveals the past and current harms that should not be overlooked. Recognizing that people are often led astray by divisive, distrustful and divergent voices online, I commit to fact checking before I repost, share, or link to stories simply because they support my side of the argument. My bridge-building voice will stand out in the chaos of polarized, politicized, and radicalized hate. I will not merely condemn injustice but work for justice that builds towards peace.

As followers of Christ are called to embody His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven, we are reminded of the picture that the scriptures paint of every nation, tribe, people and language gathered around His throne (Revelation 7:9). We strive, in these days, to experience that same unity and love, knowing that in Christ alone we are reconciled to God and to one another (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). It is that message of hope that gives us the strength to persevere (Romans 5:3-5).

As Jesus’ ministry was marked by a grace that brings life, I will personally take up the calling to replace racism with Gracism. I will intentionally extend positive favor to other people in spite of, and sometimes because of their color, class, or culture.

As I seek to address issues of racial injustice and as I pursue healing for our nation, I join with my fellow believers as we commit to this creed:

LIFT
If there is justice to be delivered, we will demand accountability and pursue restoration until we LIFT up those who are being crushed. (Matthew 23:23; Matthew 18:15-17; Proverbs 31:8)

COVER
If there is mercy to be poured out, we will COVER those most vulnerable with sacrificial acts of love. (Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:40-45)

SHARE
If there is restitution to be made for deep harms and their ripple effects, we will SHARE with unconstrained generosity. (Exodus 22:1; Luke 7:47; Luke 19:1-10)

HONOR
If there is truth to be brought to light, we will HONOR the voice and experiences of those who have been silenced. (Proverbs 31:8; John 8:1-11)

STAND
If there is reconciliation to be attained, we will work to STAND in the unity that God envisioned at creation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Genesis 2:23-25; Colossians 1:19-20)

CONSIDER
If there is healing to be achieved, we will CONSIDER the needs of those torn apart by the ravages of hateful as well as neglectful racism. (Isaiah 58:5-8; Jeremiah 33:6)

CELEBRATE
If there is peace to be won we will CELEBRATE as we see glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven come here on earth to bring the flourishing of life. (Isaiah 57:16-19; Matthew 6:10; James 3:18)

*Written by Pastor David Heiliger, associate pastor of Multicultural Bridge building, and Dr. David Anderson, author of Gracism. Approved and collectively edited by the Elders, Elders Council of Women, and Clergy of Bridgeway Community Church on September 13, 2020 (bridgeway.cc)

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