Locking arms around a dinner table

They locked arms and bowed their heads. Different races joined together. An entire nation would talk about this moment of peace and unity.

It all happened around a dinner table, not a football field.

The first Thanksgiving occurred between white pilgrims and red Indians nearly 400 years ago. The Wampanoag Indians extended peace to an unknown race of people, English Puritans, who had come into their territory. They were a dynamically different culture. The two races made a treaty together to protect one another from outsiders. After the conclusion of that first year, a feast was planned and they locked arms with the Indians in prayers of thanksgiving, unified.

When was the last time someone of another race sat at your dinner table?

Your home may be the most powerful location to fight the battle of racism. Over a meal, you learn about each other’s story. You listen to each other’s heartaches and triumphs. Foe becomes friend. Stranger becomes brother.

“Proximity breeds empathy. Distance breeds suspicion,” writes Brian Lorrits in Right Color. Wrong Culture. Racism will never be exterminated until we stop having a monologue from a distance, and begin to have a dialogue up close and personal.

The walls of racism in the early church crumbled inside a home. Jews didn’t associate with Gentiles and would never eat in their house. One day, God shook Peter up in a dream. He was summoned to the home of a Roman soldier, Cornelius. After getting to know Cornelius, Peter declared that he was just as much God’s child as a Jew because of his faith, and remained with him for a few days. I’m sure some of the neighbors were peeking through their blinds. Peter was probably the topic of conversation on Sunday at the Synagogue. He was willing to put his reputation on the line for the sake of the advancement of the Gospel.

If we hope to unify as a nation, we must first unify as a church. We must lock arms together regardless of race or socioeconomic status and lead the charge for racial reconciliation for the sake of the Gospel. Some leaders of the church led the charge during the civil rights movement, but there was a large majority of the church that was silent. As tensions have escalated, our country is listening. What will they hear from the church?

Thanksgiving is coming. Who will be invited to your table?