FOR TODAY Listen to the song "Everyday People" by Sly Stone, or watch the video produced by Playing for Change. Read the lyrics.
Sometimes I'm right and I can be wrong My own beliefs are in my song The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then Makes no difference what group I'm in I am everyday people, yeah yeah There is a blue one who can't accept the green one For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one And different strokes for different folks And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo Oh sha sha we got to live together I am no better and neither are you We are the same whatever we do You love me you hate me you know me and then You can't figure out the bag I'm in I am everyday people, yeah yeah There is a long hair that doesn't like the short hair For bein' such a rich one that will not help the poor one And different strokes for different folks And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo Oh sha sha we got to live together There is a yellow one that won't accept the black one That won't accept the red one that won't accept the white one And different strokes for different folks And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo I am everyday people
This song was written by Sylvester Stewart, better known as Sly Stone, of the group Sly and the Family Stone. First recorded in 1968, you can read more about it here. Read the lyrics slowly. The work of restoring unity involves how we see ourselves within the context of the people around us. Too often we are tempted to look at the world through a lens that reduces every issue, question, decision and person to a binary one: us versus them, right or wrong. It is no wonder we are divided and disconnected. Unity is hard to come by in a binary world. This song suggests the world is a spectrum and it does so in a fascinating way. While the song celebrates unity, it does so by encouraging the listener to revel in the peculiarities of people. In other words, unity is not uniformity. Diversity challenges a binary world and even goes so far as to challenge our own projections or assumptions about a particular issue, community, or group of people. Bryan Stevenson speaks in a similar way about breaking through the polarity of social issues. If we want to make a change, we must get closer to the issue at hand and the people involved. Only then do we see people for who they are and not as we think they should be.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION What are some of the differences in people around you that you have the hardest time understanding? Who are the people with whom you have a hard time trusting? How might you get closer to these "different" people in order to understand them?
RESTORE This fourth week focuses on the word restore. No one expected 2020. Our country has been driven apart by a virus, ravaged by storms and fires, divided by protests and riots, and ripped asunder by the demands of an election. All of this has affected us. Our hearts are heavy, our minds are confused, our souls are weary, and our society has been fractured. WIFI connections have disconnected us and left us in isolated pods. And yet, amid the chaos sounds our mission "to restore all people to unity with God and each other.” Our catechism goes on to ask two more questions about the mission of restoration. Find all previous daily devotionals here