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We are All Interconnected – A Reflection

June 7, 2020
Trinity Sunday Communion — Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies Virtual Worship.

As I offered the sermon this evening at our Zoom worship I was thinking a great deal about the connective nature of life and faith. We aren’t worshipping in the sanctuary yet we are worshipping as a community of faith. We can’t hug each other or sing together, yet we are still worshipping the Lord and loving one another.

An OpEd written by the Rev Hal Chorpenning who is the pastor of Plymouth Congregational (UCC) Church in Fort Collins, Colorado spoke to my soul. As he explained why Plymouth would remain closed while other churches are clamoring to open he spoke from a depth of thought and reflection that too many faith leaders aren’t speaking from. He said that Christians are meant to love our neighbors as ourselves. And the best way to love our neighbors in a pandemic is to stop the spread of COVID-19. Not meeting in person for worship requires some self-sacrifice, which historically speaking should come naturally to Christians. God is still there, so what’s the problem?

Some American Christians think of our Constitution as holy writ, which is heresy. For Christians, the Bible is more authoritative than legislation, and that means that loving God and neighbor trumps the First Amendment. For God’s sake, can’t you exercise your religion without risking the health of everyone in your congregation? Of course you can. And even if the government says that you can open your house of worship, please don’t; not until it is safe to do so. God has given us the gift of life, so let’s not waste it. May you be well. Source—Coloradoan Opinion Piece

When you consider the fact that people of color experience a different and frightening reality that I do as a privileged white male it is overwhelming. As Hal said in his article, God has given us the gift of life, so let’s not waste it. That life which God has given to us is given equally to all of humankind. ALL of humankind!

Dear reader, we are all interconnected. Until we as a nation and world recognize and celebrate that, we will never be the peaceable community that our Creator designed us to be. We can learn as well from the words of Thomas Merton which were written in the midst of the turbulent 1960’s. The Civil Right’s protests and legislation tried to right a wrong which began in the 1600’s when the first African slave was brought ashore and sold. It began even earlier with the slaughter of the First Nation men, women, and children at the hands of greedy European whites. If we could only capture the vision Merton shared in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes’ to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone. (p. 144)

4 Comments
  1. hlcgkids permalink

    White guilt too often used as an excuse to no action by people and only as symbols. Racism can only be solved by individual action. We are not a racist nation. We have over my lifetime we have eliminated the laws that made us a racist nation.

    • I have seen evidence that it can and does lead to action. While we may not be a racist nation, we still have a long way to go and racism has been brought out into the open and there are still laws on the books in many states.

    • We also have not as a nation fixed the broken laws which are racist.

    • pynkoski2 permalink

      I completely agree on the need for individual action. The inaction of of a paralyzing guilt gets us nowhere, producing neither repentance or change. The individual action required, is, I think, a searching of our hearts to understand the origins of, and root out, every vestige of our tendency to think in the binary terns of “us” and “them,” to come to that realization that we are interconnected, that whatever diminishes me diminishes you.
      But that is only the first part, as since we have conducted ourselves with such narrowness of vision for so long, it has taken shape in our institutions (i.e., principalities and powers), and requires the work of communities – family, church, neighborhoods,states, provinces- to exorcise it from them. Merton offered, “If we have got to the point where the laws are frequently, if not commonly, framed in such a way that they can be easily evaded by a privileged group, then the very structure of our society comes into question.” And “Our society is organized first and foremost with a view to business, and whenever we run into a choice between the rights of a human person and the advantage of a profit making organization, the rights of the person will have difficulty getting a hearing.” (Letter to a White Liberal)

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