With those few words we just heard, the entire movement of Christianity was set in motion. It’s called The Great Commission and Jesus sends out his disciples and friends into the world, to tell others about the good news of God’s love. He invites all people everywhere to be his disciples and followers. These words have significance in our family, in our church, in our country and in our world.
The understanding, that we had been commanded and commissioned by Christ to go into the entire world and share our witness with young and old, rich and poor, men and women, and those of different cultures, traditions and faiths is incredible.
The message of hope and light and love, in itself is phenomenally good news.
But when I look at the annals of history, I see a plethora of hurt, pain, loss and suffering.
That’s at the root of what we are dealing with right now.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Wallis has mentioned in his book “American’s Original Sin” is that our country’s foundation was tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another.
As many of you know, often when I preach, I choose a word for the day. A word that invites us to talk together, to learn together and to practice our faith together. The word for today, is not an easy word. The word I want you to grapple with and begin to have meaningful dialogue about, is the word Racism. I want you to talk about the word racism. I want you to think about the sin of racism.
Dr. King said, “Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.” “But in the final analysis, a riot is the language or voice of the unheard.”
“What is it that America has failed to hear?”
We are not valued, respected or honored as being beautiful and made with the imprint of God on our very being. We are having protests and demonstrations to remember the lives of people who for over 400 years have been thought of as “less than.” Too often in our country African-Americans are killed simply and solely for being different.
So, when we hear Jesus mentioned in the gospel today, the Sacrament of Baptism. God is inviting us to be agents of change. God is inviting us to commit our hearts and our lives to dismantling the sin of racism.
In baptism, we promised to honor, celebrate and respect the dignity of every human being.
The God, who as we heard in our reading from Genesis said on the six day that humanity…the crowning apex of creation--was good.
Because every body is sacred and matters to God. If they breath they have purpose. If they breath that means God’s hand is on them. If they breath, they have the very spark of God residing in their being.
It matters not if they are red, yellow, black, brown or white. They are still all precious in God’s sight.
It matters not if they are gay, straight, bi, lesbian or trans. They are still beloved by the God who made them.
It matters not if they are Republican, Democrat, Independent or undecided they are of infinite worth.
It matters not if they are a saint, sinner, skeptic or seeker. They are still a child of the progenitor of all.
We’ve been given this opportunity in time to change the pernicious course we have been venturing down. We can choose to transform this season in our nation into something redemptive, or leave it as simply rubble and ruins that will testify to, and speak volumes of our unwillingness to listen to the cries of our siblings in their hour of distress and need.
~ Fr. Joseph Alsay
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.