“… and respect the dignity of Every Human Being?” “I will, with God’s help. (BCP p. 305)”
Dear people of El Camino Real,
The unrest, anger, and violence in our country these past few days have left people anxious and uncertain as to the safety of family members and friends in different cities and towns. Certainly, in our diocese, it is the same, as we stare into the brokenness of our communities.
“What do we do?” is a question often asked. I think we know what to do. We spend time every week in prayer, reading of scripture and singing hymns that tell us what to do.
We love fiercely, just as Jesus did.
Our readings, songs, and prayers tell us to awake from our complicity in — and complacency about — inequality in every aspect of our communal living, and to walk alongside others of God’s beloved children. Not because we understand, or because we can fix it, but because we are bound together in a fierce love that compels us to ensure that the dignity of every human being is respected – without exception.
I am reminded that Jesus was dark-skinned. He came from a humble background. He ate at tables with both outcasts and people of power. He confronted injustice non-violently, and effectively by loving fiercely and pointing to truth. He listened and learned.
And he made room for those who just didn’t get it—those who struggled to see their own power and their own tools of oppression.
He loved them all, relentlessly.
Those of us who sit in places of privilege have a luxury of focusing on the struggles for equality in our society only when they make their way onto our screens. And when we have had enough, we turn off our screens and go on to what is more soothing. Our neighbors live these struggles for racial, ethnic, gender, gender orientation, class, economic and education equality, and they don’t have the luxury of turning off their struggles or soothing the hostility they face.
Jesus loves us all relentlessly, disturbing us, calling us again and again to be better people, more understanding of our neighbors, more compassionate human beings. He invites us to look in the mirror without flinching and face our own complicity in the brokenness that we see today.
What can we do?
We can strive to live fully into our baptismal call to respect the dignity of every human being. We can listen, learn and seek understanding. We can educate ourselves, confront our own biases. We can speak our own truths and let others speak theirs. We can advocate for and support those whose voices are crying out to be heard, to be included, to be valued.
We can do better, much better, with God’s help.