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Message tucked into classic hymn provides a glimpse of God’s racial plan E-mail
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 08:22


L&T Publisher Earl Watt

This weekend I heard a great rendition of “Amazing Grace” in an online video that was sung in a beautiful setting with a blend of whites and blacks, and I was touched by the camaraderie seen between them.

In addition to the great singing of Wintley Phipps was some background on what he called negro hymns and white spirituals.

He discussed the most popular white spiritual, “Amazing Grace.”

The music that makes up the melody for the song comes from just the black keys on the piano, known as the “pentatonic scale.”

Many of the negro hymns use these five notes, songs like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

The composer of the lyrics for “Amazing Grace” was John Newton, who before becoming a Christian was a captain on a slave ship.

The music that makes up the tune for “Amazing Grace” quite possibly came from a slave song, and Phipps performed what Newton probably heard coming from the belly of a slave ship from the human cargo below.

But the message shared by Phipps was that the song was made the way it was to show that whether black or white we are all connected by His amazing grace.

As I watched this touching rendition of this classic hymn, I was inspired by the unity of blacks and whites worshipping God, and I knew that the world I believe in still exists, where there is no prejudice or accusations driven by racial differences.

After I watched this beautiful lesson where references to past wrongs of slavery weren’t used to divide people, but instead were shared to unite us, to show a common bond for all believers.

I tried to think of what it would take to have more instances like these, where we all unite in spirit.

When I see marches in the streets, protests and other racially driven presentations, I started to think about what it would take to bring these people together.

When trying to think about how this could be accomplished, I first set out to discover what the protests are wanting to accomplish, what policy they are against.

I went back and watched some Black Lives Matter events, and the best I could discover is a belief that law enforcement is specifically targeting black people.

Wether I agree or disagree doesn’t matter if they believe this is true, so I tried to then discover what they were presenting as a solution, something we could all support in an effort to improve racial relations.

But there wasn’t any proposal I could find. The main thrust of the concern was that law enforcement is biased.

How can we fix that? What is the solution?

I would certainly support training for all officers that would help create an atmosphere of understanding of racial differences. Would that satisfy those with concerns?

I think we all would condemn any act of racism where a person is judged simply by the color of their skin, and I certainly support penalties against those who do this.

I was also reminded of an event recently in Manhattan where a black person wrote on his own car very hateful, racially charged things. He said it was a joke, but it was done to make it look like there were racist white people on the campus at K-State. Just as someone who would have actually done that would have been punished, I would hope that there was some sort of punishment for this act, because it did just as much damage as if it were actually done by a racist.

I found myself struggling to discover just what it would take to satisfy these protesters.

What can I do to show them that they are accepted, that they can go to the same school my kids attend, they can eat at the same places I eat, and they can work the same job I work?

I don’t know what else I can do without knowing what they really want.

As I watched these protests and college campus presentations, the message was mostly focused on the idea that white people are all people of privilege with a culture designed to provide them with advantages.

Whether I believe that or not, let’s assume it is true. What do they want to fix it? What policy or change are they advocating?

I am aware of college entrance opportunities for minorities and other programs to aid those who might not have the same advantages of others.

But one vision I couldn’t get out of my head was this black singer in church touching my soul, and I thought how he can do more to reach people far better than I ever could.

When I see the hate we have today, I see that we have decided to judge others based on skin color, or historic wrongs, or something done by Columbus who never touched foot in North America.

What can I do to help foster unity? What can you do?

I think we have to remember places like this church where races are coming together to worship, where there is friendship and camaraderie. I think we have to remember that there is an effort to end color identity and to embrace each person as a child of God.

We should all be willing to ask, “What can I do to help you know you belong?”

And I would ask those who participate in protests, who might believe white people are the cause of all problems, what are we doing to make you feel left out, and what can we do to make you feel you belong?

If we don’t figure this out, we aren’t fulfilling the call. We have to find common ground which should start with our faith.




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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