Dear friends in Christ.
The present moment in our national life calls me to prayer and thought and to say some things.
The sacrament of Holy Baptism calls Christian believers into a life of deepening union with Jesus Christ and his Gospel. This means a life in growth in service to him by serving those he loves in the spirit of the Beatitudes. (The Gospel According to Matthew chapter 5: verses 1 - 11)
The Church throughout its history has had moments when our light shone brightly. Truth-telling also demands that we admit the extent to which the Church has made peace with oppression, or been accurately characterized as manifesting “weak resignation to the evils we deplore,” as a hymn-writer put it.* We have, for the sake of making false peace among ourselves or between ourselves and the surrounding culture, failed to stand up to evil and to confront cruelty and injustice.
Times like the present moment call for a clear re-commitment to following Christ in the way of a disciple. We especially who are baptized into mystical union with Christ and who receive his Body and Blood as a sign that he dwells in us and we in him must commit to seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus defined for us what a neighbor is. There is no one who is not our neighbor. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, neighborliness is not a quality we seek in other people, it is their claim upon our lives. As the baptismal vows express, we will “respect the dignity of every human being.”
We will protect the human dignity of refugees and immigrants, no matter their status, and call for them to be treated with dignity by our authorities.
We will stand with our neighbors of diverse sexuality.
We will support the dignity of women.
We will stand alongside and find common cause with people whose religion or ethnic background is different from ours, with particular resistance to ideologies of racial superiority.
We will speak up against language and actions which seek to incite fear and prejudice and threaten the harm of anyone, recognizing that language is indeed powerful. We will not be passive in the face of such manifestations, confronting in a spirit of humility. We will speak words of respect and healing.
We will protect the psychological, spiritual and physical well-being of those who have physical limitations, those who are elderly and infirm, those who suffer mental illness.
We will seek common cause with neighbors with whom we disagree on political philosophy, and we will seek to listen as much as we speak.
Together, we can make this world a better place. Together, we can bear witness to the God who loves everybody.
Please pray these prayers!
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Collect for Social Justice, Book of Common Prayer 1979, page 260)
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for Social Justice, Book of Common Prayer 1979, page 823)
* Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah." Hymnal 1982, #690.