May 24, 2022
Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heyward Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearl Young, and Ruth Whitfield.
As I have whispered these names of the victims of the racist mass-murder in a Buffalo grocery store in my daily worship for the past days, I’ve felt once again deeply wounded by racism and the violence of our world. We know how white supremacy perpetuates violence in both broad and very personal ways: poverty, inequity, discrimination, injury, murder, and insult, for instance. These patterns and this event in particular are deeply rooted in beliefs that are so distant from the creation of the Beloved Community that I sometimes find my commitment to remain engaged in the work of self and communal transformation is tested. Today it feels as if my faith and my sense of community were on trial. How will they stand up under the cross-examination of the coming days, weeks, and years of living in this world and seeking a better one? I think about the people I’ve named above, their families, and their communities. I reflect about Buffalo and its social reality, and I hold this in my heart.
Our faith welcomes and celebrates the strong belief that the Divine is present in each person. This is a radical statement in which it is implicit that we must support one another in learning how to walk through the world inviting diversity, nonviolence, and inclusion into our communities. The Divine’s presence in each person requires an exploration of justice as we seek to re-create our communities thusly.
As people aiming for justice and social reparation, we know that we must constantly examine our lives and engage in transformative practices to bring justice and peace to our communities. And as people of faith, we must do it together, in community. Faith and community in our current moment constitute a call to active hope and a reaffirmation of mutual accompaniment. Each one of us have discovered wonderful practices to support our life journeys. In this moment and as we confront our many challenges, I recite with the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral that:
“I believe in my heart that when
The wounded heart sunk within the depth of God sings
It rises from the pond alive
As if new-born.”
Let us continue working toward justice together as a concrete act of love grounded in our faith. I pray that our efforts shape a better world, representing a resounding verdict.