This past week was spring break! Considering that I went home the weekend before, I spent my week in Richmond! For spring break, I did a very similar justice program that I did in Charlottesville in 2020 (and we ALL know how that went). This week was A LOT better. A smaller crew of people, but just gained some wisdom, relearned some things-it was an all around good time.
Sunday March 6, 2022
The church that we stayed in was a large church in Richmond. And I must repeat, that it was large. I drove over with my campus staff, and we ended up going to church at East End because it was a Sunday. It was a very cool service! The actual sermon was on Psalm 29, which talks about the voice of the Lord, and I had just read it a few days before. Some notes I wrote down God’s voice thunders but it’s a voice calling us to love and to do justice, What kind of God are we serving? If we don’t think God is gracious or loving, we will not worship correctly.
Related Post: quotes I’ve loved for the past year
Monday March 7, 2022
I woke up on a couch to beautiful sunlight. And our first task of the week was to take a historical tour of Richmond. And the first place we went to was the place I was in 2019 from which these photos are taken HERE. My experience in Richmond in 2019 taught me so many things, and I was maybe in Richmond for 36 hours. This time I got to see more of Richmond.
We ended up visiting the Slave Trail and it was more emotional than I thought it was going to be. Reverend Turner led the tour and he was good at giving us the history but also making sure that we felt the emotions. Tour notes to remember: it’s not versus, it’s AND, what we do for now will matter for later, Mary Boswer was a spy only because she was invisible to white people, Repentance begins with confession.
We finished at the Reconciliation Triangle, which is where we want justice to lead us to-reconciliation and restoration.
After the tour, we helped little kids with homework at a learning center. These kids were so cute and gave me major nostalgia. Like it was wild. Was my personality like that when I was 7? And they were way better at math than I was. They’d be asking me if they were doing it right and I would nod, but really be second guessing myself.
And then there was chili. A dinner I was very happy I could help make!
We had a time of worship and listening prayer, in which I felt very affirmed. 🙂
Tuesday March 8, 2022
This is a tiny piece of information that you may find useful (or not), but I first had the Quaker Apple Cinnamon oatmeal and it was legendary. I think I literally had the same breakfast for the next 4 days. It was just THAT good!
We did a simulation in which we played out a character and then read U.S. laws that affected you depending on race, and wowza, it was super bleak. The housing policies, voting, the G.I. bill, Social Security-it’s hard to read these things and then hear people say racial injustice isn’t a thing or systemic injustice isn’t real. It’s just sad.
For dinner this night, we had tacos and they were delish!
I also somehow got back into playing piano. I played through middle school and most of high school, but then stopped. Plenty of times playing piano felt like drudergy instead of a joy. But it was nice to play around with it for no purpose other than just to play. Part of the reason people feel so burnt out (barring policies on employment) is that we just don’t make time for play. We make a lot of time to do chores and errands, or to veg out on a Netflix binge, but not to really relax in an engaging way.
We also got to hear Jemar Tisby speak and I now I really want to read his book, but it was a *fire* talk.
We ended our evening with gelato and Cards Christians Like. And if you’re a Christian deep into the Christian culture, you will enjoy this card game!
Side note: said no to an opportunity and couldn’t tell how I felt either way, but then ended up getting feedback that it was the right decision.
Related Post: February 2022: chaotic and sweet
Wednesday March 9, 2022
I don’t have many photos on our morning, but we watched the HEARD documentary, and it was incredible and difficult to watch. I’d highly recommend it because it probably mirrors a similar reality in your city.
We also studied a bible passage Luke 19:1-10. Some key takeaways: justice and righteousness have to do with giving to others what is needed and returning to them what has been stolen. True restoration is in both justice AND righteousness. The healing in Zacchaeus, a tax collector, the outworking of his faith affects our finances.
And a word for anyone who needs it, given by IV campus pastor at Randolph-Macon: “When you’re lost, you don’t ask for a fix. You ask for directions.”
We had an intermission where we all got coffee, which is to say everyone got coffee and I got tea.
Our evening fun time was bachata and salsa dancing. Highly recommend getting on the dance floor even if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Thursday March 10, 2022
Richmond is a really artsy city. And all I have are a bunch of photos. It was a really chill day. Bible study, a talk from a pastor whose notes I can share, some worship, and something really special at the end.
Pastor Nathan Walton talked about how we can sustain our investment in justice for the long haul. Here are some key points! Take inventory of who you are and what you are bringing in as you serve. How are you seeing the people you’re serving? Make sure the work you’re a part of will outlast you (no organization/movement should be dependent on you to run). There’s community development work, there’s relief work, and community organizing. Whatever you do, you have to be willing to commit for the long haul! Be around the people you’re serving and build relationships. Listen before you lead, they often have the solution to their own problem. Join into what someone else is doing versus starting something new. And start where you are.
As for the something special, I got to talk to Paul Granger, the podcast host of Where Did You See God? Paul lives in Richmond and invited our justice crew to hang out with him at a bonfire. And did I ask him many questions? Yes, I did. Do I still have more? Yes, I do. I love Paul’s idea of holding things loosely. It’s trusting that God holds the pieces of our lives better than we do. (Because he does.) Definitely a highlight of my week!
Related Post: Notes on a week in my life in spring 2022
Friday March 11, 2022
A debrief of the week –
I’m going to list some things I learned and some feelings, etc.
Be in this (the work of justice) for the long haul.
Peace doesn’t make sense (at least to others).
God’s heart is for restoration.
Justice is what we do now for later. It’s simple but never done by accident.
Definitely struggled with longing and it was very distracting trying to make sense of my desires, decisions I had to make, and focusing on learning about justice.
We may not see the fruit of our work. It’s about sowing the seeds.
It’s about BEING a neighbor.
A theme of the week: telling the truth
Reconciliation requires lament, confession, repentance, and UNITY.
Everyone hears God differently-words, pictures, nudges, etc.
This was a super long reflection of my spring break in Richmond, but I learned a lot and wanted to share it with you, gentle reader!
Tell me something new you’ve learned or reflected on lately in the comments below.