Peter Scazzero pastors a church in one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States. For this church, the challenge of racial reconciliation extends beyond the black-white divide to include Jews and Palestinians, Dominicans and Haitians, Koreans and Japanese, and Turks and Armenians. All of these ethnic conflicts exist within Pastor Scazzero’s church in Queens, NY. What they have discovered is that the impulse to define ourselves as over and against “the other” is a sin as old as humanity itself. But a light shines in this darkness through the writings of Paul in Ephesians 2, as he unpacks the social implications of the gospel.
Ephesians 2:14-16 – For he himself [Jesus] is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.
The Gospel is the only power on earth that burns through racism. It destroys barriers and has built a whole new humanity whose primary identity is not race, politics, or economics, but the fact that we are adopted children of God the Father. The question is: how can we be an Ephesians 2 people and live out of our identity as God’s transnational family? How can we use the gospel to destroy the barriers in our church and also in our society? That is what this powerful sermon is all about. Take some time to listen to it:
God’s Revelation that Burns Through Racism – Part 1
Some questions to think about:
- All of us are influenced by the sin of ethnic and racial hatred. How helpful was Pastor Scazzero’s “test” in the beginning of the sermon? Did it open your eyes to how racism can influence the way we see others?
- The New Testament speaks of three sources of evil: the world (the world system and social structures), the flesh (our own personal brokenness) and the Devil. How are all three working together to entrench racism and ethnic hatred in our world?
- How does the Gospel speak to the divisions in our world?
- Towards the end of the sermon, Pastor Scazzero lays out a continuum regarding our attitudes towards race from the entrenched racist, to the indifferent, the despairing, the seeker, and finally the mature bridge builder. What are some ways we can move towards being mature bridge builders? Be specific.
Listen, think about this sermon and Ephesians 2 and share your thoughts in the comments below.