“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ .”
~ Philippians 3.10-14, NRSV
In 2011, I wrote a post titled “I Believe I’ll Run On.” The title is the beginning of a call and response song that I grew up hearing during evening testimony service in an old Pentecostal church in Foley, Alabama. Before contemporary and traditional services, one hour and mega services, we had services that were strictly reserved for Christian believers to testify, to serve as witnesses to the goodness of the Lord. We would sing, testify and ask the other saints to pray for us. We came to church not to hear about our goodness but to tell others of the good things that God was doing in our lives.
My grandmother would often sing this song and the congregation would join her. Commitment is a hard word to come by these days. People are not as faithful as they used to be. Nevertheless, my strength is renewed and have caught a second wind. I believe I’ll run on!
Like Paul, I know that I have not apprehended this vision of a race-less life but I am all the more encouraged to “press on toward the goal.” Persons may be wondering how I continue to run this race. Why continue to write about the race-less gospel of Jesus Christ when we live in a racialized society, when persons continue to be stereotyped, when there are countless incidents of hatred and injustice that are rooted in racial prejudice? I confess like Martin Luther, “Here I stand. I can do none other.”
I’ve come too far to turn around and I am certainly not returning to a life lived according to race. I would like to see what life looks like after race. I want to know Christ without race, to practice my faith without its belief system, ordinances and traditions. No, I believe I’ll run on. I want to see what the end of race will be.