by Susan Keal

I didn’t know what to expect when I joined the group discussion and study on the issue of racism.  It seems on the one hand so cut and dried:  I am not a racist.  On the other hand, the issue is so complicated:  why are people who are “different” being put down, held down in their job searches & promotions, attracted into gangs, or even murdered by those who may look just like me?  What makes one person feel entitled or included, while another feels excluded or hopeless?  Why is Sunday morning so segregated?  Why are we afraid to be together? Didn’t the desegregation laws fix it?   Don’t we have EEOC to handle problems in employment? Shouldn’t the school board, principals & teachers be fixing the problems through education?  Getting deeper into the causes and realizing –again- that no legislation can change people’s hearts or minds, led me into what structural racism really is, and how not educating myself well enough into the backgrounds of the people I vote for makes me guilty of helping structural racism continue to be embedded into our – OUR – system of government. If we want to say we are a government by the people, of the people, for the people….. We, The People….  then WE, The People are the ones who haven’t changed the system.  Ouch.  Our discussions only scratched the surface, and then more murders happened.  I hope you’ll join our discussion when it continues. How can We, the lucky, blessed, intelligent, clever, problem-solving people at Pine Shores put a dent in the problems, pain, and fear that exists right here in Sarasota? I read that the Bible says some version of “Fear Not” 365 times. Is it a coincidence that our faith should be leading us to Do and Not be Afraid? I like the fact that SURE is DOing some of the work, giving us a forum to speak truth to power, and uniting many faith groups in the common cause of moving towards equity. Will you join me in the next SURE meeting via ZOOM? SUREly you can spend an hour to make someone’s life better! The Nehemiah Assembly is on Monday, Mar 29, 2021, at
6:30 PM. Register in advance for this meeting by going to www.pineshorespres.org – look for the SURE box in Events and Ministries.

Scripture Reading: Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Reflection Questions:
What makes one person feel entitled or included, while another feels excluded or hopeless?
How do you change hearts?
What can you do to make another person’s life better?

Prayer: Holy God, when I become afraid keep me strong and courageous. Let me know that you are with me always. Help me to be a righteous person.   Amen.

To view previous readings click HERE