I wrote the following in an email to a group of fellow students prior to Harmony Day about 3 years ago. It was in response to some theological troubles I’d had with the idea of Harmony Day and my participation in a class activity to acknowledge Harmony Day. I hope you find it helpful.
You don’t have to read this, but I felt I wanted express why I would celebrate Harmony Day and wear orange (or will likely bring in an orange cup to toast everyone!).
One thing is that as a Christian, I believe in Jesus. We have Easter coming up and while much of Easter becomes caught up in Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, the Easter long weekend is when we pause to remember how Jesus, a 1st century Jew in Palestine, was brutally beaten and crucified for falsely being accused of crimes against the authorities he didn’t commit. Three days later (Easter Sunday) he rose again from the dead. He had eyewitnesses who saw him eating and drinking; they felt the holes in his hands and feet, and saw his pierced side.
Jesus claimed all along to be God’s son, who had now made a way for the forgiveness of sins (which is our desire to do our own thing apart from God), so that we could have a restored relationship with God and to live his way, not our own. Before this, there was no way to be totally right with God because God demands perfection. Jesus, being perfect, was the only person who can do this. He took the punishment for the sin we deserved upon himself when he was crucified. After appearing to hundreds, he ascended into heaven and will return to judge.
So what does all this mean for Harmony Day?
One thing that we do because of our autonomy from God is compare ourselves with each other to create a sense of moral pride and identity – one of these ways is through race. The result is that we feel better about ourselves and then believe we are better than others. The Jews, God’s chosen people, felt this way because God had chosen them as his own special people. They felt they were better than non-Jews, which are called ‘Gentiles’. When Jesus died for our sin, he broke down the division between the Jews and other races in terms of being God’s special people. Therefore, God now extends his salvation to all people of all nations that trust in Jesus Christ. In fact, contrary to all the things that we have contention and comparison with each other like gender, race and social status, etc. Jesus cancels and heals because salvation is only by trusting in what he did for us. A writer of the Bible, Paul, says in one part:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29, NIV)
What’s even more exciting is that when Jesus returns he brings all people that trust in him together:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (Rev. 7:9, NIV)
Therefore, when I think of Harmony Day, I think about part of what Jesus has done for us on the cross in not only forgiving our sin, but also bringing healing and harmony between races in his name and by his blood.
I have more to say, but I’ll leave it there. If you have questions, I’d love to hear them. I’d also love to hear disagreements.