Message from Bishop Russell: An Invitation to the Work of Becoming Beloved Community
In a novel by Dorothy Sayers, entitled Gaudy Knights, one of the characters recalls the prayer of a well-meaning but clumsy priest, "Lord teach us to take our hearts and look them in face, however difficult it may be."
"Lord teach us to take our hearts and look them in the face, however difficult it may be."
I have found that prayer on my lips these last few days. I give it to you for your own prayers. And I also give you this invitation extended to us by our diocesan Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation.
“Our words are drawn not from partisan posturing, but from the undeniable pain caused our brothers and sisters by America’s original sin of racism, torn afresh and laid bare by the inequities revealed in the pandemic.
Our hearts are formed, not from momentary, horriﬁc examples of vigilante conduct and improper policing, but from our resistance to a pervasive and persistent history which gives birth, acceptance and support to these symptomatic events as societal norms.
Our minds are steeled not by the news from competing ideological sources, but by the word of God revealed to us in the life, teachings and examples of Jesus the Christ whose love for all calls us ever into Becoming Beloved Community.
With God’s help, we the members of the Commission on Racial Justice & Reconciliation commit to listening, learning, supporting, praying, cooperating, speaking truth to power, sharing, inviting, respecting the dignity of every human being and including everyone in the ongoing creation of God’s just world.
With God’s help, we the members of the Commission invite all in our diocese and all God’s children everywhere to join by committing to LEARN ▪ PRAY ▪ ACT, growing each day of our lives into Beloved Community.”
I am proud of their work. I agree with their position. I accept their invitation. And I am inviting and encouraging our diocese to join them, too. We all have work to do and it's time for us to get to work. I call on and encourage each church to share this invitation with your congregation.
Years ago during morning prayer in Dothan, Alabama, a dear woman spontaneously prayed out loud, “Help us to be more comfortable in our own skin.” I have never forgotten that prayer. I find that it, too, is one I have prayed a lot these last few days.
However, in the last few years my eyes and heart have been opened to a stark reality. It’s a lot easier for me to be comfortable in my skin than it is for those whose skin is a different color than the skin I was born with. In a nutshell, I woke up to white privilege.
I have work to do. I want to learn, pray and act. I want all people to be comfortable in their own skin. Why? Because in Christ, we are all children of God, and I cannot get to heaven unless we all get to heaven.
If you wish to join in with this work and accept this invitation, click the link below and let us know. In the next few days it is our intent to populate a designated webpage with ways you can learn, pray and act. Let's commit to being about the work of becoming the beloved community that is God’s dream for all creation.
As members of the Jesus Movement, our mission is to dismantle individual and institutional racism by sharing resources and creating opportunities that inspire and empower faith communities and the larger community, resulting in reconciliation and restoration of all God’s People.