Alex Sands, pastor of Kingdom Life Church in Mauldin, spoke to the SCBC annual meeting theme of “Building Bridges” during the final session. The following is excerpted from his remarks.
I had the chance to minister at a church this summer and talk about the subject of unity. I shared with them a prayer request, something they may never have prayed about before. It was a primarily Caucasian congregation.
I told them my oldest son is on the autism spectrum. He’s very sensitive to noise and everything else. He likes to wear hoodies. He could wear hoodies during the summer if I let him. And one of the things he’ll do is throw his hoodie on to block out the noise. He also likes to run. He runs everywhere. He runs between his bedroom to the bathroom. Try to tell him to slow down? Forget about it!
When the Trayvon Martin shooting happened, it wasn’t just a news story to me. I saw my son. I began to pray, “Lord, don’t let anyone shoot my son. He wouldn’t hurt anybody. He’s never been in a fight. He’s not a threat. He struggles communicating. His subject and verbs don’t always agree, but his heart is good. Lord, please don’t let anything happen to my son.”
And I shared with the congregation that you may have never had to pray that prayer or ever thought about it. You may have never prayed that for your grandchildren. But I can tell you it’s real when you’re a parent of an African-American son.
It’s not apology so much that we need. Prayer partners are what’s needed. And also those who will partner together to go out into the harvest to see hearts changed, to see reconciliation, to see people who were brought up to be racist turned and changed to where they love others.
It’ll take some sacrifices. It’ll take being uncomfortable, but we can do it. We have to take Jesus’ mandate seriously to seek first the kingdom.
We do it through discipleship. But we have to understand that how we relate to others of different backgrounds and cultures is a discipleship issue. It falls right in the same category.
We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” The Lord’s charge for us is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and do all we can to make earth look like heaven.