There is a biblical precedent for laying stones as a memorial to the Lord in order to remember the good things He has done for us. There are at least three cases of biblical characters laying memorial stones, and these become significant locations throughout biblical history. Bethel is where Jacob memorialized his vision. Gilgal is where Joshua commemorated the Israelites’ miraculous entrance into the Promised Land. Samuel erects an Ebenezer stone after God thwarts the Philistine’s attack.
In all the depravity that humankind is capable of inflicting on one another, the gospel of Jesus calls victims to safe haven and oppressors to repentance under the reality that we are all sinners in need of salvation from a Holy God and that true healing only comes from Him.
As Tulsans remember the horrors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre this weekend, this is a digital memorial stone, if you will, of what Christ has done enduring his brutal execution on the Cross and defiant resurrection from the grave. This is not a dismissal of real victims that deserve justice nor real pain that requires real healing, but the real power for healing comes from Christ’s work on the Cross and it’s finality. The evidence is transformed lives across dividing walls of hostility (Ephesians 2) that we should endeavor to live worthy of that reconciliation offered by Christ alone.
Esau McCaulley puts it in his book, Reading While Black:
“God’s vision for his people is not for the elimination of ethnicity to form a colorblind uniformity of sanctified blandness. Instead God sees the creation of a community of different cultures united by faith in his Son as a manifestation of the expansive nature of his grace. This expansiveness is unfulfilled unless the differences are seen and celebrated, not as ends unto themselves, but as particular manifestations of the power of the Spirit to bring forth the same holiness among different peoples and cultures for the glory of God.”
For more information on the events of 1921 attack on residents in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, OK, explore the New York Times article delineating the historical records of the weekend 100 years ago. We want to be a city in healing; on the road toward being the "Magic City" again.
photos by Nathan Harmon
I'm a Christ-follower passionate about moving in love and intellectual rigor through all things faith + art. Fancying myself an amateur Christian Apologist and a professional Dance Artist, I’m committed to moving in the liminal space between catastrophic reverence of God and a quaking humility that intentionally keeps the tremors of Grace close at hand.