By Ernest Scalabrin
Walking, talking and living among the residents of Mt. Clare for the past 10 days has magnified my inability to relate with them. How can I, a white male from suburban New Jersey attending an elite university, possibly connect with people here through cultural similarity or other common ground?
The real answer is I can’t. Nothing I do or say can break down the years of racial and/or socioeconomic division between my world and theirs. Relationships can’t be formed and healing between us can’t take place. Both I and the people I am trying to bond with and learn from will never reconcile our differences and the systemic injustice in our country will continue to widen this gap.
But thank God that’s not what we’re trying to do here. We are not here to change the situation and heal the brokenness under our own power and will. In fact as long as we try to do so we will always lose hope, energy and patience. We are but merely to act as conduits of God’s love and power so that His will be done.
The Holy Spirit can soften hearts and create bonds that no other force can break and He can break chains that no other being can. Every day, I’ve had to remind myself that God doesn’t need me to do His work, but he invites me along for the ride because He loves me and for His glory.
This has been especially relevant because I have had a cold and have been house-bound for the past 3 days. It has been difficult to miss out on the things my fellow BUPers have been doing but it has given me a lot of time to think about my role here this summer.
For a prideful person like myself, the thought of God not needing me is painful. But as I’ve grown in His word it is incredibly freeing and reassuring that His redemptive plan for this city is not dependent on my limited broken self. And on top of that God has even given me a front row seat to the glorious healing He is doing here.
My prayer for the rest of the time I have in southwest Baltimore is that He would humble me and leave me in awe of Him.
“He must become greater; I must become less” John 3:30 NIV