Ezra- Reflections on Race and Restoration Day 1 Seek the Welfare of the City

Read my disclaimer if you haven’t already. Click here.

Funny enough we aren’t even going to start in Ezra. Let’s start with some history and background knowledge leading up this point in the life of the Jews.
Where are the people of God during the book of Ezra? They’re in captivity. They are a people who were driven out of their homeland and forced to live under an oppressive government. Whew. Sound familiar?
During the book of Ezra they are no longer under the oppressive regime of the Babylonian government but now the Persian Empire. The reign of this new empire changes the fate of the Jews and for the first time in 70 years there’s hope.

When the Jews are initially led into Babylonian captivity the prominent prophet and voice of reason was Jeremiah. In the famous chapter 29 of his book he gives the people instructions on life in captivity. Let’s read verses 4-7.

4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Wow. Seek the welfare of the city. Pray on its behalf. In its welfare you will find your welfare.

My Reflections:
Black people have been in America for very long. Once granted their “freedom” in 1863 all Black people have wanted to do is do well for themselves. Well with a constitution that only recognized them as 3/5 of a person, Jim Crow Laws, segregation, mass incarceration, unfair housing opportunities & police brutality that’s been hard.

How do you seek the welfare of the city when the city isn’t concerned about yours?
You speak up. You protest. You educate. You make people uncomfortable with your experience. You grieve loudly and openly when George Floyd is lynched. You take to the streets. You have tough conversations with your White friends who have never heard you talk about this. You have tough conversations with your White friends who say things back to you that hurt and imply that your pain must be proven. You continue to thrive and find joy despite the circumstances. You eat. You sleep. You repeat. Because what is best for Black people WILL BE what’s best for America. This is how you seek the welfare of the city.

What’s good for Black people will be good for America.
What’s good for Black people will be good for America.
What’s good for Black people will be good for America.

Your Reflections:
We are all responsible for seeking the welfare of this country. How have you not sought the welfare of this country by neglecting the struggle of Black people?
Do you really believe that what is best for Black people will be what’s best for America? Search your heart. Why or why not? Hold on to that hope or lack of hope we are going to need it in the reflections to come.
What are you now doing or going to start doing to seek the welfare of Black people in this great country? How are you weaving the thread of anti-racism through your life? (Because that is what it is gonna take; a weaving of thread through your entire being, thought process and way of life. Not a day or a week or a single donation but a conscious effort and unpacking of the anti-blackness that lives in the American heart.)
I haven’t always spoken up. I thought being a well-educated contributor to society would be enough for fixing the “Black” issue in America. I never talked about it because I didn’t want to be “that Black girl.” I came to the realization that holding my tongue is actually doing a disservice to America. I love this country. It is because of that, I can no longer hold my tongue.

What’s good for Black people will be good for America.
What’s good for Black people will be good for America.
What’s good for Black people will be good for America.

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