For God so loved the world extends further than our carnal minds can conceive.Bishop Naomi Davis
As I watched anger seemingly sweep through the nation in protests, I heard one observer explain when quiet cries are not heard, the person turns to screaming in public. I thought, “Well said”. Let me start listening. I want to be tuned in to those who are suffering. This current moment sparked by the death of Mr. George Floyd, has both young and old hurting. The old because they have lived through these experiences growing up in segregation. The young because they envisioned their society having moved beyond the hatred. My response has been to listen and share in a moment of social complexity. We will gain our footing by stopping to listen. We will find the solutions through listening to one another’s experiences. One size will not fit all but if we are willing to study our history, be open to learning more about society and the political process, I believe will be able to identify the many variables needed to solve the equation. It starts by joining together with a common purpose; a more perfect union.
As a cleric, I look out at society and see faith plays a part in the healing process. I mean, if I were a politician I would assess my world through the eyes of politics. If I were a physician or scientist, through the perspectives of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or WHO (The World Health Organization). So, from my perspective, I see how empty piety can contribute to a parishioners deafness. Many public Christian leaders have allowed politics to become part of the fabric of faith. For some loving thy neighbor is relegated to sitting next to a stranger in church on Sunday, feeling inclusive while remaining secluded in ones thoughts and mindset. Love thy neighbor is not about being a Christian although it should be a description of what one looks like. I want us to recognize that the awakened among us have lifted love to a place of sacredness. I write to keep myself grounded in the hope that sharing this truth can awaken this divine aspiration in others.
Have faith in love
This world needs to love. Human beings are looking for its byproducts like acceptance, kindness, peace, friendship, fellowship, and a peaceful coexistence. This is not a lofty intellectual concept. Love is organic. It is not a utopia. It does not mean bad things don’t happen to us. It just gives us more options to lift ourselves up higher, individually and collectively. Hate lowers us. When we hear the quiet cries of the broken, disenfranchised, or in this case the “I can’t breath” of Mr George Floyd, we see the contrast between love and a reckless disregard for it, right?
To lift love higher, to speak out on its behalf will take courage and faith. To live by giving and treating others the way that we want to be treated, will take resolve. But change begins with a thought. Here is good one: love will help change our society. When love takes root it grows, blooming into a beautiful flower like a society of loving & caring neighbors. Wow, in my humble opinion, lifting love higher is the only answer we need to hear.
“But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””Luke 10:29-37 NRSV