I woke up in my Birmingham hotel room last week, and my mind was buzzing with thoughts of justice, righteousness and the role of the church. After spending three days with white and black church leaders from Omaha, my learning curve was high, my frustration level was high and my sense of having any ability solve the situations we face was low. From Selma, AL to Atlanta and Birmingham we traveled, learning, confronting, repenting, praying and loving across our differences.
I knew so little about the struggle for civil rights; it was embarrassing. There are problems in North Omaha that I barely ever think about out in the southwest corner of town. Here are some of the things that I heard:
- 59% of African American kids in Omaha live in poverty, more than any U.S. city;
- despite the fact that income is adjusted for cost of living, Omaha has the second highest median income in the country;
- an African American male entering OPS has less than a 50% chance of graduating, while a Caucasian student in Elkhorn has a 96% chance; and
- African Americans in the prison system in Nebraska get sentences three times as long as Caucasians.
The list could continue, but I am motivated to pray – for our city, for unity, for justice, for God’s kingdom to be manifest in our midst and for CCC to be the church the way God meant it to be.
I think about our nation. The economy is struggling, massive changes are taking place in the halls of Washington and we are at war. Shifting our focus, we are overspending by trillions of dollars, unborn babies are being killed, born babies are being neglected and abuse is rampant.
Again, I am motivated to pray. I’m motivated to pray for wisdom for our leaders, for truth to be known, for protection, for love to be spread and for God’s kingdom to come. Our problems are deeply rooted in spiritual issues. The solution must begin with God and tapping into His power of prayer.
Most of my fifty friends from this trip are coming to CCC on Thursday night for the National Day of Prayer (7 PM / Worship Center / Old Mill Campus). They are bringing people from their congregations: white, black, Hispanic, young, old, rich and poor. We will be joining together in prayer for our city and our country.
I want to invite you to come for a couple of reasons.
- It will be good to host the city-church well. CCC doesn’t get this opportunity very often, so let’s do it right.
- We need to pray, to be connected with God, to intercede for our city and country and to unite as a city around the things that bring community.
If there has ever been a time for prayer, it is now. Our city is desperate, our nation is hurting and we need to stay connected to the vine of life.