My favorite perfume in 7th grade: Strawberry Fizz.
A simple body spray I bought from Victoria’s Secret for less than $10.
It was one of the first things I thought of when I heard about the shootings, more racism being uncovered on the news, more hatred, more separation, more dividing lines.
Strawberry Fizz consists of oil and water. For the perfume to have that oh-so-desired smell, the bottle had to be shaken, forcing the oil and water to mix into the perfect harmony.
I used to love sitting it back down on the counter to watch the oil form into tiny bubbles, pulling away from the water, slowly but surely redividing into two separate substances.
What seemed like simple entertainment to me in middle school has become a metaphor for the racial tension running rampant in our society. Racism that “should have” been eradicated decades ago.
But here I am, almost 8 years later, watching the oil form small bubbles and pull away from the water until dividing lines become more visibile, more permanent.
I am currently in New York City for a six week mission trip with a team compiled of people from around the country. From a Los Angeles resident to a handful of members from South Carolina, we are represented from coast to coast.
In the broader scheme, the 43-people Gen Send NYC team comprises members from areas all over the U.S., as well as a number of other countries.
Not to mention we are serving in the 22-million-deep New York City metro area, where nearly every country in the world is represented.
We are not lacking in diversity.
It has been such an adventure to meet friends like the Pakistani guy that lives in LIU’s dorms with us, the German man that randomly joined our volleyball game at Brooklyn Bridge Park one night, the man from Arkansas who got the last thing he ever expected–a life in NYC.
But then one morning I wake up to hear news of two black men being shot by policemen of other races. I wake to watch videos of men being killed, shot repeatedly for no reason.
The next night I walk into the dorm’s lobby to see breaking news of a shooting in Dallas, a shooting targeting police officers in what was believed to be a response to the earlier shootings.
Strawberry Fizz quickly came to mind.
I watched as oil formed bubbles and pulled away from water on national television. I watched as the racism I thought was making “progress” toward eradication was instead being strengthened.
I realized it had never ended. The optimist in me gave way to the realist I try so hard to suppress.
I allowed anger to rise in me. Anger at the fact that race had ever been and still is a reason to hate a person, to kill a person. I wanted to yell from a rooftop, “What are we doing?!? How can we even let this happen??!?”
But I already knew the answer. I already knew the solution.
The fall of man. The Gospel.
Racism is just one of the many ways sin flows out of people. It is a means for hate, a means for murder. Because racism is easy. It’s easy to dislike what it different, to hate everything and everyone that doesn’t look like you. Yet the hardest things to do are almost always the best.
There’s nothing more I want than to be able to say something that would put an end to all of this, to stop it and erase it and have it never happen again.
But I know that as long as people do not know Christ, there will be racism, no matter how stupid and pointless it is.
As long as people do not know Christ, there will be murder. There will be hate. There will be injustice. There will be a senseless thirst for revenge.
These things will one day halt, but not until Jesus returns.
The only hope we have for now is to pray, to love, to share the hope that God has given to every nation through Christ. To tell of the diversity there will be in heaven–every tribe, every tongue, every nation–this is the only possible solution.
We live in a country built on, by and for immigrants from around the world, people of all colors, ethnicities and nationalities. Yet, sadly, this isn’t the same picture we see for today.
A few days ago I looked around the city to find a beautiful mixture of cultures and races and languages, but now I find those same people with pain woven into their story. I see guards coming up because my skin doesn’t match theirs, they don’t know who I am. I don’t know who they are.
My prayer is that the love and hope of Christ will continue breaking these boundaries like only it can and that His church will gather in unity. I pray not that we become colorblind, but that we see the beauty of the diversity of the image of God, because that is what we all are.
I pray for the world to see the unity of the Church that overcomes racial tensions because we know what awaits us after this life.
I pray for America to regain its status as the melting pot, that the frozen sections of “black neighborhoods,” “white neighborhoods” will begin to blend together, that no separation will ever again be found.
I pray that people of all races and backgrounds will come to know the love of a Father that surpasses all earthly boundaries.
I pray that people will see that black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. Hispanic lives matter. Police lives matter. All lives matter because human lives matter because we are all image-bearers of the Creator of the universe.