The other day during my devotional time, I was searching YouTube for the song with the lyrics “Surely goodness and mercy . . .” that were running through my head. I found this version of “Psalm 23” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The song was beautiful and added a real blessing to my devotional time. But it was the choir — a choir made up of people of many different races all singing in harmony — that struck me most.
Not only did the choir comprise people of different races, it also comprised both men and women — old, young, and in between — of different sizes and shapes with varying degrees of talent and, no doubt, many different personal attributes. They were in no way equal in any of those ways, yet they were all equally important to the presentation of a beautiful piece of music. However humble or exalted the part each sang — the background singers no less than the soloist — the song would not have been what it was without that part.
Would that our country could look like that choir, I thought. People of all races, ethnicities, and ages, with varying degrees of talents, skills, and wealth, all contributing their part to the smooth functioning of the country. Not all equal in every way, but all equally important — whether truck driver or surgeon — and all equally respected and valued for his or her contribution, however great or small.
Our country, instead, is in turmoil. An epidemic of anger and hatred rages throughout the land as dangerous and deadly as the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through our cities and towns. No vaccine exists for this epidemic. Critical race theory isn’t the answer, nor reparations, nor defunding the police, nor diversity training. Neither a President Trump nor a President Biden can proffer a remedy. The only antidote for the sickness destroying our country is the one that the choir members have already embraced — the grace offered by a good and merciful God.
Only a good and merciful God can change people’s hearts. Only His mercy and grace can give us the ability to love and respect people who are not like us, with whom we may profoundly disagree, and whose lifestyles of which we may not approve. Only His mercy and grace can enable us to love and pray for those who “persecute” us and “despitefully” use us.
It may be that we can stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic by taking a vaccine as one becomes available to us. But the only way we can stem the tide of the epidemic of hatred and anger is by spending less time on social media and cable news sites — where hatred and anger are the coin of the realm — and more time in God’s Word where grace and mercy abound. And may His mercy and grace so fill our lives that it overflows into the lives of all with whom we come in contact until America actually does resemble the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.