I’ve been trying to find the words for many many days.
Words that can tell my story, that can speak my truth, that can explain my perspective, my heart, my core.
I’ve been trying. Talking to myself in the shower, practicing while driving in the car, rehearsing and replaying in my mind over and over again.
Three days ago I even recorded and edited an entire podcast episode, twice.
I keep speaking, loudly to God, begging for answers. Demanding what to do, what to say.
I wanted to be understood.
I wanted to be heard.
I wanted to matter.
hmm. Hold that thought.
Late last night, June 8th, I felt like I was stumbling, searching, desiring for truth, when in an article I was led to had TODAY’S date in it. June 8, 1978. I didn’t know what this day is the anniversary of.
I wonder why.
From the years 1852-1978 my Black brothers could not receive the priesthood. Our Black family’s could not be sealed, have a father’s blessing, or assist in other sacred ordinances. 124 years of “not”. During those years in America, many fought for freedom for all, leading to the civil war VICTORY in 1865. But that did not mark the end of marginalization to our brothers and sisters. Interracial marriage was not LEGAL in the United States of America until 1954. Only 66 years ago. Finally, June 8, 1978 Spencer W. Kimball announced that Black faithful saints could finally receive the priesthood in their families. The ideologies that held that rule into place has since being denounced by the First Presidency of the Church. And I’d like to denounce them myself loud and clear now. SOURCE.
42 years ago.
That is not long enough, that is still very very fresh in our history, in their history.
I have had the privilege of living my 30 years on this earth without any real awareness of any of it. While my family is just one generation old in the church, the lens of which I see the world has not been impacted much, if at all, by this HISTORY.
I know that this topic is a touchy subject within the church, or it has been, and I started asking myself why? Why would I ever turn my eye or heart to this reality? The history doesn’t need defended, it needs acknowledged. The history doesn’t need covered up, it needs accepted.
But. But. But.
And therein lies my own personal desire, deep rooted desire, to matter.
I believe Satan will take a good thing, and try every way possible to twist it into pieces for his purposes.
Wanting to matter is fine.
Wanting to matter so much that it morphs into pride, anger, hate, judgment, and a willingness to turn even a silent blind eye to someone else’s matter-ness is dangerous spiritual ground.
One of which I have been standing in for too long.
Am I a disciple of Christ, or am I not?
Is it possible to be like Jesus without demanding someone else to be it first?
Is that the very definition of emulating Him?
Or is it possible that demanding to matter denies the matter-ness in someone else?
I am called to be His sheep, humble, submissive, meek, mild, willing to submit to all the Father inflicts upon ME. Including the consecration of my own matter-ness, my own perspective, my own reasoning, my own voice, for the sake of my Brothers. My sisters. Our people.
They are not them.
We are not us.
God’s sheep are all.
When He left the 99, HE WENT FOR THE ONE. Did the other 99 demand to matter too? Did they have reasons and perspectives that pushed them into anger or even indifference? Did they marginalize the one in their own ego and pride?
I mean, these are CHRIST’S sheep. So I believe the answer to that is no. They didn’t. Because Jesus’s people know and understand WHO THEY ARE. And who they are is not something that can possibly be taken away simply because SOMEONE ELSE MATTERS, TOO.
If you’re Black, you matter. If my skin doesn’t look like yours, you matter. If you live in a different place than me, you matter. If I struggle in different ways than you, you matter. If you think differently than me, you matter. If you believe differently than me, you matter. If you see the world with a different perspective, you matter. If you speak in a different language than me, you matter. If I don’t understand your pain, you very very much matter.
NO MATTER WHAT, you matter. To God. To Jesus. To me and my family.
Black brothers and sisters, you are in Jesus’s hands right now tenderly and purposefully and perfectly. I honor your painful history and I am learning how to become one with you, even UN learning how to become one with you. I will act. I will teach. I will change. I will speak. I will love. I will listen. I will honor. I will consecrate all of my own pride or ego or self for you, because I love Jesus, and I love you, and He loves all.
I honor your path to HERE, and I honor your path forward.
And I thank you for letting me sit at the table, despite your pain, despite our history, despite the different lenses we have worn.
Love God, love your neighbor.
The two great commandments.
There is no gray area in them.
There are no sub categories or addendum’s.
LOVE GOD. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR.
This is what God asks of me.
No matter what.
Not IF someone else accepts it too.
Someday, we will all kneel before the Savior.
I wonder what He will care about most?
Will it be how many times we ran a marathon?
Will it be how much money we earned?
Will it be how many cars we owned?
Will it be how many kids we had?
Will it be how many degrees we earned?
Or will it be simply, how we loved His sheep? How we cared for each other? How we consecrated our SELVES for the matter-ness of our brothers and sisters?
My heart has been shattered and I’m picking up the pieces and putting it back together differently.
And I’m thankful, humbled, and deeply motivated to have that opportunity to repent, and become new in Christ.
God is good.
You are known.
You are heard.
He will heal our broken and strengthen our weaknesses.
He will show up and guide and protect.
You are loved.