Voices-only Wednesday: Churches respond to racist fraternity chant by showing they’re ‘United in Christ’
Welcome to Voices-only Wednesday, when we scour the Internet to bring you the best a cappella videos we can find.
Or, sometimes, we just get out our smartphones and press “record.”
That’s what I did Sunday night during a “United in Christ” service hosted by my home congregation, the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. I apologize for the poor framing, the occasional baby giggles (that’s my youngest daughter) and the occasional off-key tenor (that’s me).
“United in Christ” is an annual effort among OKC’s predominantly black and predominantly white churches to get together, fellowship and visit each other’s congregations. In recent years we’ve been blessed to attend Sunday evening services hosted by the Eastside Church of Christ.
This year’s sixth annual “United in Christ” happened in the midst of inflammatory news from the campus of the University of Oklahoma, just a few miles south of the OKC metro. A racist chant by members of an OU fraternity burned across the Internet. One of the offenders is scheduled to speak about the incident for the first time today.
The whole debacle underscores the need for more events such as “United in Christ” — for the church to step up and show cross-cultural compassion.
Shannon Hayes, a member of Memorial Road, told Christians of both races that our purpose is to “show a united front to the world, to the folks on the campus of OU, to the folks in the streets.”
God gives us the ability to make our own decisions — good or bad, Hayes said. And we choose to show love and mercy.
On a recent Sunday morning, one the elders of Memorial Road presented this statement to the congregation:
This month, many members of this congregation are attending Sunday morning worship services at several predominantly African-American Churches of Christ in Oklahoma City, as part of the “United in Christ” initiative. Many of you are looking forward to participate with one of our sister Church of Christ congregations; to worship and fellowship together, to build relationships, get better acquainted, and strengthen the bonds amongst Christians of different races and background.
However, the events of this past week involving racial prejudice on the OU campus have served to remind us that our desire to participate in fostering racial unity is not shared by every member of society. These events affect all of us and leave no person untouched. Still, it is our prayer and hope that as a body of believers in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we will refuse to allow the color of our skin to create a barrier to the love that Jesus Christ has extended to each of us. May we each play a part in giving every human being respect, honor and love, in the name of our Lord.
It is very timely that we join together in the Oklahoma City area to promote unity in our fellowship of believers in the churches of Christ. We are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 15, when he encourages the church in Rome:
“… may the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of UNITY among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”