Justice and Peace
This Sunday we will renew our Baptismal Vows. The last question is the one that always gives me pause, "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" No part of our Baptismal Covenant should be taken for granted or be idle words we say on a Sunday morning when the service runs a bit longer. How? How are we respecting the dignity of every human being as we vote, shop, invest, read, recreate, exercise?
Right before we closed the doors and moved to online church, a group of eleven pilgrims from St. Cross went to Alabama on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage. This was for our own education, to understand the roots of systemic racism in our country, and to begin to acknowledge our own part in the structures that work against people of color in our society. It was sobering, with occasional glimmers of hope, but mostly sobering. Among the eleven of us, none of us agreed on any one course of action. We all did our best to be present to the history and to say, "I am sorry. We see the history, and we see the challenge people of color face in our country. The violence against people of color IS AWFUL AND MUST BE STOPPED."
I am often asked, "What can I do?" We can pray. We can educate. We can act. But most of all we need to repent. Repent means turning, actually changing our ways (often comfortable ways) to see how we are complicit and where we can be of help. As a community we will not all be of one mind on how to repent, but we must each find our way, for the system as it stands now is unjust. I pray for people of color in our country who face violence daily that I as a white woman do not face. I pray for the communities torn apart by violence, and I pray for an end to the injustice in those communities that lead to the violence. I pray for our government on all levels, for just leadership. Pray. Educate. Act. Repent. And work to ask yourself just how each of us is truly respecting the dignity of every human being, no exceptions.