Mercedes Benz stadium filled with 65,000 decreeing and declaring the goodness of God “There’s nothing our God can’t do.” This is the start of the roaring ’20s. May the Glory of God be shown in the land of the living. Passion 2020.
Good evening America, today. The Coronavirus is now a global health emergency. Stay at home orders filled the cities, loved ones dying alone, schools shut down, workers laid off, small businesses closed, Grocery shelves empty, Death toll approximately 375,000.
Asian Americans experiencing hate and blame. Lives took in the hands of law enforcement. Protest across the nations, screaming black lives matter. Blackout Tuesday Squares bursting Instagram timelines. Rage swept the hearts of the unheard and marginalized. Buildings were burning. Political upheaval, chants that filled the US Make America Great Again, protest against mask-wearing, Pages of Social Media demanding “We must Cancel you. Exposure to unfaithful preachers and teachers, pulpits speechless, members leaving the church, and division is now to the light where all can see. 2020, will you choose aside?
What do you do when you hear those numbers? Do you hide and wish it never happened? Do you grieve the tragedies that took place? Do you mourn the loss of loved ones? Do you become denial hoping 2020 was just a dream? Do you choose sides? Do you become angry at so much loss? Do you feel the wave of depression seeping into your attention? Do you panic and make partnership with fear? Do you see the flashback of hardship? Do you hear the cries of the hurting? Or do you scroll past it, becoming desensitized to the global experience of 2020?
The truth is this list of questions can go on and on. In transparency, 2020, for me, was a world of things from covid crises, uprise in the exposure of injustice, 2020 experienced two pandemics that shook the core, the heart, and the eyes of the world. Have the eyes of the people been shut? I believe there was a shaking that required us to look at what we believe to be true about God, those around us, and ourselves.
In transparency, the truth is, all I could hear and see were the lost lives because of racial tension and police brutality. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and it continues. Regardless of where you stand, lives were lost. The black community alongside others was crushed and yet a continuation of grieving a never-ending cycle of “Who’s next, could it be me?” Names that hit the headlines filled the streets with protest and demand for equality, equity, human rights. All I could do was think of my parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends.
I was overwhelmed with anger, sadness, exhaustion, and grief. I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit my relationships with my friends who didn’t look like me, exempt myself from majority-white spaces, and call the shots myself. I wanted to choose a side because you know that is a lot easier. I hit a wall; either I was going to stay and build a wall of self-protection, or I could allow the Lord to come close and rewrite the narrative, not erasing the reality but seeing through the reality with his eyes. This wall, for sure, is the “I AM FINE”; this wall holds the banner of blame and shame. When the sun shined, it gave a blinding shade of desensitization. Side effects that penetrated the soul with numbness, confusion, emptiness, hatred, and loneliness. In his kindness and compassion, I had this vision; in the vision, it was Jesus and me; in the distance was the chaos of the world of 2020 on role-play. I saw him display a rage of emotions, and he asked me this question that speared the wall to crumble.
“Let me restore your soul and give you the mind of Christ,” and with my yes to him, speared the wall into crumbles. I received his heart; my language started to shift, the way I viewed others, the way I dealt with hardship, I never thought I could begin to love others who have mistreated me or those who do not care for racial Reconciliation. It all shifted when I said yes to receiving the restoration. The Lord gives us full permission to feel and offers an alternative (known as the instead.) I am learning to live in the beautiful tension that God sent his son Jesus for the oppressed and the oppressors. There I saw the promise of deep joy in trials, and I saw a miracle happen for myself; the healing of the heart produces a sound mind.
Things come to life when we say yes to the mind of Christ. June 25, 2020, was the day I received the message that changed my life. Sadie and Team Live Original reached out with an opportunity to partner with them. To serve and bring Christ-centered content to social media and Live Original Sister. I was surprised that a ministry would reach out to black voices during such a chaotic time in our country. The Lord opened my eyes to see that this is what the work of unity looks like fighting for change, to bring different perspectives and history with God. I commend Live Original for taking the steps that brought diversity and inclusion. Live Original made it clear that their heart is to carry the spirit of the Lord. His heart is for us all to take hand and hand, all image bearers, together in unity, bringing the Peace of God.
Announcing joining Live Original, I received a few messages over the months I decided to put together. “Seeing you with Live Original gave me hope again before I wanted to call it quits. To see you doing the work of unity, I, too, no longer want to give up. I am grateful for this.”
Opening to the truth, I saw it takes the mind of Christ to heal and reconcile. To know the truth that where there is unity, there is strength. The Lord poured out his oil on the pain and fear that gave us the courage to reveal oppression. He wanted us to experience being fought for in a community. Partnering with Live Original, the Lord rebuilt trust by forming new bridges of connection and love. It has been an honor to serve with this team, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does through the unification as the body of Christ. I believe this can happen for each of us when we begin to seek the mind of Christ; it is powerful, it brings life, and it heals. God’s mind brings restoration to the land and hearts of all people, groups, and nations.
We must continue in the work of representation, partnership, and unification; it matters.
There is beauty in learning a new way, the Lord’s way. May we offer others love instead of rage. Unity is worth fighting for—experiencing the peace of God.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 NIV
Victoria Dynasty James is a friend of God. You can always find her giving encouraging words on Instagram @victoria.dynasty and in person. Her prayer is that others will come to know the value of friendship with Jesus.