SYSTEMS OF POWER // Makenzi Koyen

The words you speak can be either life-giving or destructive. Considering the events that occurred this past week, I found it difficult to speak at all. What would I say? Would it matter? Do I even fully understand what the real issue is? I felt restless and hopeless to the point where I just didn’t want to be a part of it at all. If I’m being completely honest, I’m having trouble speaking up right now.

As I was listening to Sunday’s message about grace and injustice,  I found myself reflecting on the past few months—remembering the teachings of leadership class and previous sermons. I began to realize that God doesn’t want us to stay silent. Everything we’ve been learning is for a purpose, and if there’s a time to put it into action, it is now. In this moment of clarity, I felt God calling me to a higher seat. It is the enemy who wants to convince us that our words do not matter and that our voices won’t be heard when in fact God has a seat for all of us at the table. I was completely captivated by Pastor Josh’s ability to speak so eloquently and powerfully on a such a sensitive subject during a very difficult time. His willingness to speak out, while still acknowledging what he did not know and understand, left me feeling humbled and encouraged.

I learned that through Jesus we can reverse the flow of power in our society. We can all be just as bold and steadfast in our faith to stand up for what is right. Violence is not and cannot be the answer. I loved hearing the story in Luke 22 about Peter cutting off the ear of his enemy, comparing it to the way violence changes conversation. Pastor Josh said, “Violence cuts off the ear of our enemy, changing the root of the matter and ending the conversation that we need to have.” Grace is the justice that we are all looking for, so the hope that we carry within us has never been more important. I find comfort in the fact that God promises to pour out His spirit upon all flesh because he does not see the color of our skin but the nature of our hearts.

Through Sunday’s message and the grace of God, I discovered that I was being distracted and silenced by my own personal bias. Glancing around my church that day, I found hope. I found it in the faces of those around me, and I found it in the way we worshiped. God is calling us all to something higher and greater than ourselves. The oppression in our society is great. We can choose to stay silent in our comfortable lives, or we can grab on to the grace that has freely been given and use it to make a difference.