Sixty years ago this August 28th, a crowd of over 200,000 people assembled at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington protesting racial segregation and inequality. On that day, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered “I Have a Dream,” one of the most famous speeches in history. In the voice of a prophet, King echoed the words of the biblical prophet: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” He cast a kingdom-driven vision of beloved community, declaring, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

The march, however, was situated within a long, ongoing struggle. Just a few weeks after the march, four young Black girls were killed and 20 others were injured when Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed (September 15, 1963). Hundreds of civil rights protestors were brutally beaten with whips and nightsticks on “Bloody Sunday” on Edmund Pettus Bridge a year and a half later (March 7, 1965).

While significant progress toward racial justice has been made in the ensuing 60 years, incidents of prejudice, racist rhetoric, and violence continue to fill our newsfeeds today. Deep divisions and deep wounds remain.

What does it look like for followers of Jesus to live reconciliation? To embody kingdom values of justice and love? Several pieces in this issue engage with these key questions. “Generations After Slavery, Georgia Neighbors Find Freedom and Repair in Christ” profiles Georgia neighbors Melvin and Betty Mosley and Stacie Marshall, detailing how their faith has helped them grapple with the discovery that one of their ancestors was enslaved by the other’s. “The Lord’s Supper Is a Barrier-Breaking Love Feast” casts a theological vision of the key role Communion can play for multiethnic church communities. And “Is God Pleased By Our Worship?” unpacks the context of Amos 5:24’s compelling call to “let justice roll on like a river.”

How can we contribute to the hard work of healing? “For he himself is our peace,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians (2:14–16), who were wrestling with their own deep cultural and ethnic divisions between Jewish and Gentile believers. Jesus “has made the two groups one and has
destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” Paul wrote. Our hope is ultimately found in Jesus himself—as he puts to death our hostility and reconciles us to one another and “to God through the cross.”

Kelli B. Trujillo is CT’s print managing editor.

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