by Jodi-beth McCain
During two consecutive beautiful fall days, I met outdoors with different groups of six and seven year old children to consider together the history of the Kingdom of God. With each lesson, as we considered the gifts to come, the children returned again and again to the idea that Parousia would be a time free of racism.
With the first group, a Mexican child said Parousia would have “no weapons”. A white child continued, saying it would have “No racism. No sickness. No greediness.”
The next day during a lesson, a Black child announced that in Parousia we will “see God.” Later, when I wondered how Parousia will be different from the time of redemption that we live in, she shared that in Parousia “no people will be mean” and that there will be “no shooting” and “no people will go in jail; no Black people will go in jail for talking to each other.”
With another group when we were considering the gifts to come in the time of Parousia, Anna, a white child, paused then asked, “do you think there’ll be racism in Parousia?” I too wondered if there would be racism in the time of Parousia. Her classmate, also white, asked, “What is racism?” Anna replied, “You know when Black people are not respected like white people are? That’s racism.” They continued discussing. She then said, “Some Black people get killed or in jail for just going to the supermarket” and her classmate continued, “just getting what they need to live.” When I recalled the question about if there will be racism in Parousia, Anna then answered her question: “I think Black and white will be the same.”Her classmate added, “Everyone will treat everyone the same.” I offered that the gifts of God haven’t been shared equally in the past, and that this is also part of racism. Anna then spoke of the police and that police should save people and not kill Black people.
Three conversations in a row where the children announced that Parousia will be a time of no racism.
Our school community recognizes that racism, bias, and privilege exist. We have committed ourselves to recognizing the impacts of racism and privilege, and to transforming our environment. I wonder if the children have always known that racism has no place in Parousia, but it is only now, with many adults in their lives seeking to do anti-bias and anti-racism work, that they feel safe to voice this knowing.
Christian Family Montessori School, Washington, DC