Recently, I received a letter from Trinity MacDonald, a student at Virginia Tech who attends one of our churches. Growing up, the world wasn’t very kind to me. My dad passed when I was two, and I never had a stable home. My mother had her own issues, and still does, so I was always back and forth with my grandparents who shared custody of me.
When I was in fourth grade, without letting the court know, my stepdad moved me, my sisters and mom to Florida. Within two weeks, they were both in legal trouble. That’s when my grandmother got an emergency order from the court and came and picked me up after hiring an attorney and petitioning the Florida court. I have been with her since.
Trinity began her life in a family full of issues and problems, but Trinity had a protector in a loving grandmother who saw what was happening to her and responded. But they were not alone either. Both Trinity and her grandmother were soon surrounded by a loving church and community.
Today, our community, nation and world face intense disagreements, controversy, division, frustration and even anger. It’s no wonder people on the outside look around and ask our churches: “What is your church and your Christian faith good for? And like the old Motown song the answer on the surface may appear to be: “Absolutely Nothing.”
Through the years, disagreements became arguments and arguments became increasingly divisive and violent. Ten people were recently murdered in Buffalo, New York. Why? Because of their skin color. The shooter left behind a 580+ page manifesto filled with racist anger and hate.
As we struggle with what took place, Christians and churches must take a stand against the hatred and violence but how? Expressing anger, complaining, talking politics, and promoting equally violent responses of any kind will only provoke more of the same. How can we respond in a way that promotes God’s healing grace?
Trinity provides answers: If there has been one constant in my life, it has been my church family. I started coming with my grandma as a baby and still go to this day. My church family has been by my side through everything. Through all my family turmoil, and my own mental and emotional struggles, I have been able to count on Christ and my church family.
I keep a lot hidden from most of the world, but my church family has helped me. I have been trying to better my relationship with the Lord. I started doing more with my church.
Micah in the Old Testament writes: “God showed you, what is good. And what dos the Lord require? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
So, what would be an appropriate response? We can be the church amongst the hatred and strife surrounding us.
- We stretch our friendship comfort zone beyond our immediate friends and establish genuine relations with people from other cultures, races, and economic status.
- As a church, we create better and more diverse relationships within our community. We exhibit a visible example so our witness shines like the light of God we are called to be.
- As a community we are an active, calming presence. When debate is called for, we participate, seeking to understand both sides while speaking compassionately and firmly for the rights of all.
Are those answers comfortable? Never. But are they worthwhile? Always.
Trinity continues: Whenever something happens in my life, I have learned to turn to Christ and trust in Him, that he will guide me through. Building my relationship with Him has helped me to become a stronger person and better myself. I still have a long road ahead of me to get to where I want to be, but I am taking it one step at a time.
Now I am in college and doing well. Although I might not be at home and attending church as often, I haven’t forgotten my roots, and my hometown and my church will always be a part of me. Trinity is one example of how our churches make a difference in people’s lives even in the face of challenges and difficulties.
“God showed you, what is good. And what dos the Lord require? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)