Invitation to Explore
Jasmine Holmes provides compelling reasons to learn the stories of Black Christians who came before us, especially in the light of the hypocrisy of Christians who claimed to follow Jesus while oppressing people made in the image of God. How familiar are you with stories like these? What does it do to your heart to learn a fuller story of Christians who have come before us?
Take some time to think about the ways in which God empowered marginalized Christians to speak the truth in love to those in power. How does that encourage you in knowing that God can use you in your unique calling today to speak the truth in love and work for change in your community?
Scripture to Study
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Wise Words to Consider
“I think people want… the triumphal version of history, right? The version of American history that is all rainbows and butterflies and patriotism. But we don’t want to acknowledge the hard fought patriotism of the formerly enslaved, the patriotism of people who were offered immigration to another country and chose to stay here and fight for their rights in this country. That patriotism of people who literally bled and died to be able to have voting rights and to pass those voting rights off to the next generation.” – Jasmine Holmes
A Prayer to Lead You
You know all of the darkness of this world, the sickness of our hearts, and the hypocrisy that lies within each and every one of us. Yet, we so often resist the truth of the sinfulness of humanity. We know that if we have to admit the faults of those who came before us, we lay open our hearts to the judgment of those who come after us. We are afraid of telling the whole truth because the whole truth implicates us too.
And yet, the darkness of this world didn’t stop You from Your rescue mission. You loved us even while we were Your enemies. You saw our hypocrisy, our fickleness, our inability to walk in the light, and yet You pressed on to the cross.
Shine the light of Your gospel on us, Precious Savior. Let Your light shine into the dark places of our hearts and our histories. Cast out the fear in our hearts with Your love. Make us so enraptured about what You think of us that we are not afraid about telling the truth about ourselves.
Lead us in the light so that we might walk with a deeper sense of Your grace. In Your precious name. Amen.
A Practice to Begin
Jasmine talked about her own struggles of trying not to see certain kinds of people in the worst light possible. She talked about learning how to pray for the people that particularly rub her the wrong way while also making sure to create and honor healthy boundaries for herself.
Take an honest assessment over the next week about how you’re doing in these matters. Are there particular people who can get on your nerves? Are you able to pray for them instead of writing them off or thinking about them in the worst light possible? Have you created healthy boundaries to make sure that you are able to enter into difficult conversations seasoned with grace?
Questions to Answer
Jasmine talked about the importance of seeing your ethnicity and heritage as a part of God’s story. Especially in the context of the United States where whiteness (in the sense of culture) is often centered, it is important to hear the stories of faithful Christians from all kinds of backgrounds to remind us of the global story God is writing.
Who are the examples that you look up to as faithful Christians? Are people from a certain demographic more represented than others? What would it look like to diversify the Christians you learn from and look up to as examples of faithfulness?
Resources to Help
Jasmine Holmes, Carved in Ebony
Jasmine Holmes, Mother to Son
Jasmine Holmes, Crowned With Glory