Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:9-10
I have been working on my yard and garden these past weeks, planting flowers and vegetables for summer enjoyment. I have also tackled an area where a mass of weeds had sprouted up and begun work to reclaim it.
The first step is to identify which weeds and plants need to come out. There is a variety of invasive plants which are growing quickly and choking out desired plants. Some of the weeds have shallow roots that can be pulled out easily. Some seem tiny and harmless one day, but then a bit of rain or a few sunny days help them to double in size. Some of the roots are so deep that they require a spade or shears along with a lot of muscle to pull them out. Some weeds have an entire underground root structure so complex that even if you pluck the leaves on the surface, it quickly diverts and resurfaces in new places.
My goal is to cultivate the area and make space for vegetables and flowers to grow. The task takes focused identification to understand which are the dangerous weeds, it takes special tools, and it requires persistent effort. To nurture beauty and to grow healthy food requires me to not only imagine but also commit to the end result.
While doing the physical work of weeding, I have been thinking that this is similar to the task of eradicating racism. I need to educate myself so that I can recognize realms of racism. I have to gather tools and skills for dialogue. I must dig below the surface to understand the systems that are embedded underground in a covert tangle of rules and laws. I need to be tenacious, making a commitment to pick up the work, day after day. And mostly, I need to remember to keep my faith at center and hold on to God’s vision of a beloved community.
Watch: Systemic Racism Explained
Pause, Listen, and Ponder:
Music by Sweet Honey in the Rock: Eyes on the Prize
What are you cultivating in your own life? Where can you help weed out racism?
Pray: Loving God, we give thanks for the rich diversity of all creation. We know there is a season to plant as well as to prune. Help us to recognize the actions, and systems that are harmful to your earth and to your people. Let us cultivate our own faith lives that we may grow closer to you. Let us nurture our children with love that each one may blossom into the beautiful being that you designed. Amen.
This devotion was written for the Parent Resources section of Silver Lake at Home.
Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference. She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...