Jimmy Evans - Who Is My Neighbor? (Love Thy Neighbor)
Hey, I want to welcome you to this weekend's services. We're so glad that you're joining us. Hope that you're doing well. And we're continuing to pray for the breaking of COVID-19. We now actually have 12 of our staff members that have COVID-19 right now, actively. And so would you please be praying for them? We're praying for you. Please be praying for them. And we're again, continuing to pray every week about when we're going to get together and have services. In the meantime, now we have a lot of ways that you can connect here. If you'll go on gatewaypeople.com/connect, it'll give you all different ways, watch parties, we're having worship services online every week, different ways that you can connect with people to watch the services, to pray, you know, many different ways that we can get together, even though we're not getting together in, you know, in main sanctuaries at our campuses.
But again, we're glad that you're with us. And I want to say one other thing. gatewaypeople.com/unity. We still have videos on there discussing the issue of racism. I'm beginning a new series right now this week. It's going to be a four-part series. It's called Love Thy Neighbor, and we're talking about racism. We're talking about the way we treat other people. It's not just about racism, even though we're going to be talking about this. This week, I'm preaching. Next week, it's going to be our dear friend, Tim Ross. The weekend after that is our campus pastor in Frisco, Jelani Lewis. The weekend after that is our dear friend, Michael, Jr., the comedian. He's going to be with us. We're all going to be talking about the way that we treat people and the heart issues that are involved. And the issue of racism, it's a heart issue.
Now, before I get into the message, let me just say, I have a new book that came out this week, Tipping Point. Now this is what I'm going to be preaching during the month of August. Not everything I'm preaching on is in the book, now. But five years ago, I brought the Tipping Point series here at Gateway, talking about the end times when Jesus is coming and all the different issues related to the end times. This is out right now. Now, if you go on Amazon and you order it there, it's $14.95, but if you'll text STORE to 71010, you can buy this for $10 from Gateway. That includes shipping. Since we're not meeting and you can't go into the bookstore, $10 for Tipping Point, including shipping. Just text STORE to 71010. Would love to put the book into your hands. I think it'd be a blessing to you, and also to a lot of the people around you.
You know, during all the COVID-19 and all the craziness that's happening in the world right now, I've had a lot of people talking to me about the end times. They're very anxious. Listen, when you understand what the Bible says, about 30% of the Bible is prophecy, and most of it's end time prophecy. A lot of the Bible is devoted to the end times because of the severity of those times. When you understand prophesy, it comforts you. If you don't understand prophesy, you're afraid of it. This is the last thing in the world you need to be afraid of. This is a very comforting book that will help you. It'll also help some people around you. So you just text STORE to 71010 and you can get the book Tipping Point. And again, at the end of this series, all during the month of August, I'm going to be preaching on this and I can't wait. I love to preach on that topic.
Love Thy Neighbor is this series, and we're talking about the way we treat other people. This has been a problem since humanity began. You know, prejudice and hate and pride; those things have plagued humanity since the very beginning. And this message is called, Who Is My Neighbor? Very important message. I want to talk about the story of the good Samaritan. Who Is My Neighbor? And this is, this is going to the heart, the very heart of the issue of how we see other people and how we treat other people and the words of Jesus. So let's read it. This is Luke 10:25-29. It says, "And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live”", now listen to this, "But he, wanting to justify himself..".
Now that's very important. He's about to ask a question, but he's trying to do it, the lawyer here, to justify himself. Luke 10:29-37 "But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”"
Well, this lawyer is not a lawyer like we think of lawyers. This is a lawyer of the Torah. The Jewish society was based on the Pentateuch, the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. And so this was a lawyer of the Jewish law. And so any unclean, any Gentile or non-Jew was unclean. And so when he said to Jesus to justify himself, he said, "who is my neighbor"? Okay. What he was trying to say to Jesus is, "So, now, I don't have to love the non-Jews, right? Because they're all unclean". Okay, and they hated the Samaritans. Now, when Jesus talked about the good Samaritan, this was so distasteful to any Jew, because there were several things. The Samaritans believed in the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, but they had many different versions of many different things. For example, they did not believe there was anything sacred about Jerusalem. They thought that Mount Gerizim is where everyone had to go and worship. And they, there had been a history of violence now between the Jews and the Samaritans.
So this story now is about two groups of people that hate each other, and the Jews absolutely hated the Samaritans. So again, trying to justify himself, this lawyer is saying to Jesus, well, is asking Jesus, well, tell me who my neighbor is. And this is the answer that he wanted. Well, your neighbor is your fellow Jew who keeps the law. Oh, that's easy. And, and the lawyer would have gone away and say, Well I'm a good neighbor to everyone. I love them. But Jesus just absolutely freaks him out. He rocked his world when he said, let me tell you about this good Samaritan. Let me tell you about this priest and this Levi who went down a road, and a certain man, doesn't say what color that man was. It doesn't say what religion that man was. But whatever he was was so distasteful to the Levite and the priest, they went to the other side of the road. They didn't just pass the guy by. They went to the opposite side of the road. This man is hurting, he's helpless, and they won't help him.
But a Samaritan... This is a racial story here, now. If you don't understand the background out of it, you don't understand how racial this story is. This Samaritan who is used to people being prejudiced against him, he's used to being hated, he knows what it feels like to be ostracized. He's walking down the road and he looks over in the ditch. He picks this guy up, bandages him, takes him to the inn, pays for all of him to be taken care of. And then Jesus said, now who's the neighbor to that man. And the lawyer said, the man who had mercy on him. He said, well then go and do likewise. Let me say this. On that, in that conversation between Jesus and the lawyer, law met love. The lawyer represented the Jewish law. And according to the Jewish law, all Gentiles were unclean. Jews could not have any close relationship with a non-Jew. The Jews were special. Everybody else wasn't special. You couldn't eat with them. You couldn't go into their house.
Before Peter went to Cornelius's house in the book of Acts and the first Gentiles got saved, a Jew could have no dealings with the Gentiles. And so again, he feels very justified in the fact that he loves his fellow Jews. He doesn't have to love anybody else, but Jesus is saying to him, No, you have to love everybody regardless of who they are. Okay. Let me say this. So law doesn't change anything. We can pass all the laws we want to, and laws are important, now, and when it comes down to racism or people being mistreated, I'm not saying that law isn't important. But I'm just saying when slavery stopped in America, racism didn't stop. That law did not change many people's hearts. And it's a heart issue. Racism will never stop until people's hearts are changed. This is the only answer.
And so when segregation... I grew up in a segregated school, where white people went to white school, black people went to black school. Segregation when it stopped, it didn't stop racism. There was still a lot of racism. And again, it was a great law, but it didn't stop racism. The only thing that's going to stop racism is when our hearts become like the heart of God and we stop being prideful and prejudiced, and we stop hating people that aren't like us. But here's, here's the worst thing about it. The priest and the Levi walked by the guy in the ditch and they justified it. This is what racism does. Racism or prejudice, you know, even toward a person of the same color, prejudice and racism give us the right to mistreat people and to justify it.
Okay? Let me tell you some stories. My great grandfather fought in the Civil War. Now that's hard for some people to believe, but he did. My father was born in 1929. He was one of 10 kids. His father was old when he was born. My grandfather, my father's father died when I was a baby. He was an old man. His father fought in the Civil War on the Confederate side, I'm very ashamed to say. My great grandfather fought to keep blacks in slavery. Okay. My great grandfather on my mother's side had a hamburger stand that my mother worked in when she was a little girl, young girl growing up, and his hamburger stand had a white counter at the front and a colored counter at the back. They called it the colored counter, and my mother worked the colored counter.
Now my mother has always loved black people. And one of the reasons my parents were never racist when I was growing up. Now rest of my family, you know, some of them were, but my mother loved black people. And one of the reasons I believe that she loved black people is because in the process of her doing business with them at that hamburger stand it humanized black people. Now let me say, racism dehumanizes people. In other words, you're not as human as me. And I've heard the n-word spoken thousands of times, not with my parents, but with my extended family growing up. I heard them talk about black people like they were animals. I've seen them treated like they were animals. They did not consider black people to be fully human.
Many people believe that about Jewish people. Many people believe that about other races of people, that I justify the way that I'm treating you because you're not as human as me because you're not of the right race. You're not of the same, the right socioeconomic level, whatever it might be. And so my grandfather was a cotton farmer in West Texas, and I loved him. He was just one of my favorite people. Very racist, and I didn't know what that meant as a child. And black people worked his cotton farms, and the adults were paid $2 a day. And if the kids worked, they were paid a dollar a day. And so my grandfather had a man that worked for him, one of the black men that worked for him, and he had a son named Jerry. And Jerry and I became very good friends. I stayed with my grandparents during the summers on their farm. And so I was staying with my grandparents one summer, and Jerry and I became very close friends.
He was a wonderful, wonderful friend of mine. Really, when I look back on my childhood growing up, I think Jerry probably was my favorite friend. He was funny. He was intelligent. He was the kindest friend, the most considerate, kind friend I ever had growing up. And we just had a blast together that summer. And one day Jerry came up to me and he said, Hey... He had a BB gun and we shot everything you could possibly shoot with a BB gun all summer long. And he had a BB gun and he said, Hey can I trade you my BB gun for some chickens? Now my grandparents had 500 chickens. They sold eggs in town. And I said, "You'll give me your BB gun for some chickens"? And he said, "Yeah". So I went to my grandfather and I said, "Hey, Papaw, can I can I have some chickens? Jerry will trade me his gun for some chickens". My granddad said, "Sure".
So he took three or four or five chickens and left and I had the BB gun. You know, so I thought it was a great trade. And my mother and dad came to pick me up a week or two later, and we were, my mother saw my BB gun. Now I knew that BB gun didn't have much of a chance of, you know, making it past my mom. And so my mother said, "where'd you get that BB gun"? And I said, from my friend, Jerry. She said, "Your black friend"? And I said, "Yeah". She said, "You don't have any money. Why did he give it to you"? And I said, "Well, I traded him for some chickens. Papaw let me have some chickens, and I gave him some chickens for this BB gun". And my mother grabbed me and pulled me real close to her, and got in my face. My mother said, "Now Jimmy, your friend Jerry gave you his favorite toy so he could feed his family. Now you march down that road and you give him back that gun right now".
Well, before she said that, I just thought, you know, I'm just this great trader, you know, I'm just, man did I make a great trade or what? You know, chickens for a BB gun. When she said that to me, it embarrassed me 'cause I'd never thought about that. I didn't have to worry about feeding my family, but he did. And so Jerry and his family, it was Sunday when my parents came to get me, and so that was the only day they were off. They worked six days a week, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM for $2 a day. And I knew where they lived. It was a place that my granddad owned there on his property, but I had just never been there. I just never walked up to it. But I knew where it was. So she said, you march up that road and you give Jerry his gun back.
So I walked up to Jerry's house, and Jerry's family was there, about 15 people in a two room house, shack, windows broken out, no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms in the house or anything. And I remember walking up into the yard. And I remember when I walked up, there, of course this white kid walking up into the yard. And I remember they all dropped their arms and opened their mouths. They just went... when they saw me walk up. And I had the gun with me and I said is Jerry here? And Jerry walked out about that time. And he walked out and he said, "Jimmy, what's wrong"? And I said, "Hey, Jerry, I'm sorry, my mother won't let me keep this gun". I said, "I'm sorry for taking it from you in the first place". And he said, it was kind of funny. He said, "Hey, Jimmy, we ate those chickens". And I said, "Jerry, I'm not here for the chickens. I feel bad. I shouldn't have taken your gun from you. We should have just given you the chickens".
But I remember standing in that yard like it was yesterday and seeing the unbelievable way that my relatives made those black people live. And I loved Jerry. Jerry was the best friend in the world. I mean, smarter than any of my white friends. I mean, he was better. His heart was better than anybody. Honestly, he was just such a good person. And I remember thinking why on earth would my grandparents put these people through this? You know, we're living down the road in a completely different world than they're living in. But here's what happened in the process. I've never been racist. And the reason is, is because knowing Jerry completely changed the way that I looked at other people and people of different races. And I'll say this, I'm not trying to make myself look good or sound good. Racism hurts my heart. It always has.
I absolutely hate... to hear people talk bad about black people, Jewish people, Hispanic people, American Indian people, Asian people, white people. It doesn't matter, but it hurts God's heart. It's a heart issue. It's just a heart issue. And I'll just tell you this little news flash, there are good white people and there are bad white people. There are good black people. There are bad black people. There are good and bad people. And if you think all white people are good, I need to introduce you to more white people, 'cause there's some just bad white people. And why I'm saying that is because racism says this. Well all black people are like this. Well all Jewish people are like this. Well all Hispanics are like this. Well all Asians are like this. No they're not. I know those people. I know all different kinds of people. And I'm just saying, there's good and bad from every race. It's the human race, not the race of your skin.
We all have one race. We're all the children of Adam and Eve. And it is a sin. It's just wrong. Prejudice means I'm pre-judging you based on your differences. You don't look like me. And so I'm, pre-judging you. I want you to know, goodness doesn't have a color. Goodness doesn't, intelligence doesn't have a color. Character does not have a color, hard work does not have a color, and love does not have a color. It doesn't. All different people of all different races, good or bad, they make their choices, and we're all the same. All the races are the same. We may have different cultures, different customs, but God made us all the same. And any other belief than that is wrong, and any other belief than that is why people justify mistreating other people.
There were five white police officers shot in downtown Dallas four or five years ago. Horrible racial problem and racial tension that happened over that and had been happening a lot around that. And the next morning there was a meeting of some city officials and clergy in downtown Dallas, and I was there. Pastor Tom Lane and I went to that. And the lieutenant governor was there, mayor was there, the police chief was there. All different kinds of people were there. And a lot of different races and a lot of blacks and whites were there. Very good spirit, very loving spirit. Well, I walked in and there was a... I'm standing right behind the lieutenant governor and the police chief, and there was a black couple standing next to me and they introduced themselves to me, just a real sweet couple. And she hugged me, and I didn't know her. I didn't know her at all. And this woman hugged me, and and just smiled at me and loved on me.
Well, we were there like for 45 minutes. During the entire time we're there, she's patting me on the shoulder like this, and just kind of rubbing my shoulder and patting me on the shoulder. And every time I look at her, it's the face of an angel. I promise, to this day. She might have been an angel, the most loving black woman, my sister. But I can't tell you the damage that's been done to me about certain white people. When I think about love, I don't think about black or white. I think about a heart. It's not about law. It's not about a person's skin. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his "I Have a Dream" speech said this, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character". That's a phenomenal thing. That was his dream. I pray that that dream comes true during my lifetime, that we stop judging people by their differences. And God made those differences. God made us the colors that we are. God created diversity. And then we despise each other for our differences. It's crazy.
Well, let me tell you a story of what happened to me in Amarillo. And this is a text of scripture that has 10 promises. It has more promises than any place in the Bible I know of. And so, It's Isaiah 58. We were struggling as a church. We were broke. We were in a building that was too small, a tiny parking lot, multiple services. Our people were parking all over the neighborhood. The neighbors hated us. We were in the building illegally, and the fire marshal warned us every week, I'm gonna close your doors. If you don't solve your problem, I'm going to close your doors. We didn't have any money. We didn't have any money. We couldn't solve our problems, and the church kept growing. We were about 2000 people, and people were just jamming in the church every Sunday morning. The church was going great, but we had a lot of problems and we didn't have any money. And so I was praying one day. I was absolutely desperate.
And I went to the Lord and prayed. And I said, "Lord, I don't know what to do. We don't have any money. And the fire marshal's threatening us. And I don't know what to do". And the Lord took me to Isaiah 58. Well, let me paraphrase this, and then I'm going to read you 10 promises, more promises here than anywhere I know of in the Bible in one text. And so the children of Israel are crying out to God, and God won't answer their prayers. And they're crying out to God. And they're saying, "Lord, we're fasting and we're praying, and we don't understand why you're not answering our prayers". Let me just read you the first part of this. They're saying, "‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord"?
This is God's answer, "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh"?. They came to God, and they said to God, "Why? We're fasting and you're not answering". He said, "Let me tell you why I'm not answering. I'm not answering because you're sitting here abusing people. You're turning your backs on people who are naked and hungry and poor and oppressed. You won't help oppressed people. In fact, you're the oppressors, and you're coming to me as my children and you're asking me why I'm not answering your prayers? It's because the way you treat people".
And then God gives them 10 promises, okay. When I'm praying and I'm crying out to God, and I'm saying to God, "Lord, we need money. We need an answer. We've got to build a building. We've got to move out of here", like this, God took me to Isaiah 58 and he said, here's what God said. He said, you take care of my hurting children and I'll take care of you. Okay? And he gave me 10 promises. We're gonna read through this in just a minute. Listen, we opened a mercy center in the indigent area of Amarillo. We had to borrow $50,000 to do it 'cause we didn't have any money. And we had to personally guarantee that note. And we borrowed $50,000. We went to an old coffin company that they had shut down and we remodeled the front third of that coffin company, and our mission was to dignify the poor. The Lord said to me, "You dignify poor people. When they walk through the doors of that place, you make them feel as special as they really are".
It looked like the department store. I told the people in our congregation, we need clothes. But if you won't wear it, don't bring it up here, because we're going to give it to these people and we want to dignify these people. I had to tell our congregation to stop bringing clothing. They brought so much. We have given away in the last 40 years, millions of pounds from clothing. And we own that building, the church in Amarillo owns that building. Millions of pounds of food, clothing, rent, utilities, assistance. We had a class where we taught women how to put makeup on and how to fill out a resume so they can go get a job. We had Christmas outreach, back school outreach, Thanksgiving, all different kinds of outreaches there. When we finished the building, we didn't know if anybody would show up. They beat the door down, but listen to what happened. We opened the building. We remodeled that building and we opened that building, and that's the week when the faucet turned, and the giving dramatically changed at our church.
Our people were just not good givers. I'll just say that they were not good givers. That week, we started getting large checks in, and it gave us the money to move and to build a new building, which is now about a 375,000 square foot complex. One of our campuses, that's there at Trinity in Amarillo plus other campuses, 4,000 seat sanctuary, and the church grew from 2000 to 10,000. And people ask, me how in the world did you grow such a big church in Amarillo? I'm telling you right now, I went to the Lord in desperation, and it was like the sky was iron. And I had been crying out to God saying, "God, please help us. Please help us. What is wrong here"? And the Lord's response to me was, "You go find my hurting children in this city, and you help them. And if you do that, I'll fulfill all 10 of these promises to you".
Can I say this? I was dumbfounded at the people in my city that were living in abject poverty. I just thought the government was taking care of them. I don't know what I thought. When we opened the doors of Bethesda, I could not believe the level of need that was under my nose in that community. These are God's children... that I had absolutely no idea existed until we opened Bethesda. When we opened Bethesda, God fulfilled all 10 promises to me and to us as a congregation, and he'll do it for you. Okay? A lot of the problems that we have in America are because of the way we treat people. It's the fact that we see a man in the ditch and we don't stop. Remember, he used believers. Jesus used believers in the story as the bad guys, and he used Samaritan as the good guy. Doesn't matter what our label is. Doesn't matter what we think about ourselves. It matters the way we treat people.
And God now in Isaiah 58 is responding to his people. And he's saying, if you wonder why the sky seems like iron, and you're not getting an answer, it's because I notice the way you treat people and the way you mistreat people and the way you won't help people in need, and that is why I have been unresponsive. But if you would respond, here are the 10 things that I'll do. This is Isaiah 58.
1. Then your light will break forth like the morning. Promise number one, God will supernaturally promote you. This is what God told me, Jimmy, I will supernaturally promote Trinity Fellowship if you'll go out there and help those people.
2. Your healing shall spring forth speedily. Second promise, God will supernaturally heal you.
3. And your righteousness shall go before you. You'll be right with God. You'll be pleasing to God.
4. The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. The Lord will supernaturally protect you.
5. Then you shall call and the Lord will answer. God will answer your prayers, okay. There won't be an iron sky. There'll be an open heaven. Okay?
6. You shall cry, and he will say, here I am. God's intimate presence will be with you.
7. Then your light shall dawn in darkness, and your darkness shall be as noonday. You will have supernatural understanding and enlightenment. When everyone else is in the dark, it's not darkness to you.
8. The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought and strengthen your bones. The Lord will guide you, provide for you, and give you strength.
9. You shall be like a watered garden and like of spring of water whose waters do not fail. You'll flourish in all seasons of life is what that means.
10. Then from those among you shall build the old waste places. You shall raise up the foundations of many generations and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of the Streets in which to Dwell. You will solve problems that generations before you caused, and your posterity will be blessed.
Think about those 10 problems. Listen to me, this isn't just what God will do for us if we will love people, all people, people in need. This is what we forfeit when we mistreat people. The priest and Levi walk to the other side of the road. They didn't just walk by. They walked away. And God says, listen to me. Jesus said, "Who's the neighbor of that man"? This is the question of this message. "Who's the neighbor of that man"? The one who had mercy on him. Jesus said, "You be like that".
If we only help people who are like us, if we only accept people who are like us, we're pretty shallow people, very shallow, and it can cost you. I mean, it can cost you in the sense that the blessings that you want, the answered prayer that you want, the intimate presence of God, the protection that you want, all the things that you want you forfeit. And God came to me as a young pastor in my desperation, and he said to me, "Jimmy, if you'll go find these people that are my children that are hurting, and if you will help them, I'll fulfill all of those promises".
God fulfilled all of those promises and some, and I'm saying to you, I'm saying to me: the way we treat people is a heart issue. It's not a law issue. It's a heart issue, and we need to be good neighbors. See your neighbor is the person who sees you in the ditch and helps you. That's what Jesus said in the story. Your neighbor. And if you're a good neighbor, it means you don't walk away from people in the ditch. You help them when you can. I'm challenging all of us in this message and in this series. I'm challenging all of us to examine our hearts. Are you a good neighbor? Are you a person who helps people who are in a ditch regardless of the color of their skin or their religion or their politics or their socioeconomic level? I want to be that kind of a person. I want to be the kind of a person that I am a good neighbor. And in this series, we're going to be talking about our hearts. We're going to be talking about racism and the issues of our hearts. I want you to bow your heads with me if you would right now.
Lord, we repent. We repent of being hard-hearted and uncaring for people who need us, Lord. We repent because sometimes we know that we've all been like the Levite and the priest who walked away when we should've walked up, who would not give when we needed to have given. And I pray, Lord, that you'll forgive America, Lord, that we have a sin that is destroying our nation, and it's the sin of racism and prejudice, and we repent of it, Lord, and pray that you would heal our land. Heal our land of generations and generations of racism and prejudice. And I pray Lord that you will bring us together, in all of our diversity that you will bring us together and make us one church, and one people, and one nation under God. In Jesus' name, amen.