From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
On February 8, 1968, on the campus of South Carolina State College, 3 young men were killed and 28 others were wounded when white highway patrol officers opened fire on an unarmed crowd of black student protesters. Most of them were shot in the back as they fled the area, and all of the officers were acquitted––the governor of South Carolina had publicly blamed the incident on “outside black power agitators.” This incident, known as the Orangeburg Massacre, is still considered unfinished business by many citizens; it remains an open wound. New City Fellowship is being planted alongside other faithful churches to bring gospel-light into the dark places of hurt, division, and shame. We are hosting monthly “Reconciliation Roundtable” dinners in a local café to bring people together to talk about issues of race and culture. As people come to faith in Jesus, we are inviting them into our lives to be discipled and to become disciple-makers. Our dinner table is ground zero for gospel-infused hospitality. In addition, we are prayerfully gathering a team of disciples on Sunday nights for dinner, Bible study, and prayer who will be putting together the basic structures needed to plant New City Fellowship, PCA.
If our churches are not diverse because our relationships are not diverse, then we need to work on getting to know our neighbors. Hospitality, having an open and welcoming home and a crowded dinner table, is the primary way we seek to develop relationships in our community. The Gospel of Jesus provides the context for authentic relationships where friendships can develop.
One of the benefits of being in the church is living in community with a diverse group of people. Sadly, it is something we all too often take for granted. One of the ways we can love and serve our community is by hosting events that bring people together. It is our prayer that these events are not self-serving (not PR motivated) but that they truly pursue the heart of our community for good.