We are in the waning days of an election cycle that seems to have had no beginning and threatens to have no end. We are in the middle of a global pandemic where we are not only fighting a deadly virus that is taking precious lives, we are fighting the policitization of that virus into a weapon of mass polarization. And meanwhile, the panoply of challenges we face as citizens of the 21st century continue to demand our attention: global warming and its threat to this fragile Earth, our island home; systemic racism and its insidious impact on our human family; economic disparity that seems to be growing exponentially. The list goes on and on.
One of the realities we recognize is that facing challenges that threaten to divide us is as old as the prophets who called the faithful of their day to align their lives with God’s love, justice and compassion and as new as the lastest news cycle intended to distract, diminish and divide us. Nevertheless, we persist.
One of the ways we persist is through the work of “One in the Spirit” — our diocesan initiative committed to the work of recovering our deep connection to each other and to our world so we can participate more fully in the transforming work of love. One of the ways do that work is amplifying the voices of the prophets of our generation who are calling us to our better selves.
And of those prophets is Bishop Charleston — pastor and poet; a bishop in the Episcopal Church and an elder in the Choctaw Nation. It is his voice we amplify this week as strength for the journey we share as we persist in the work of making God’s love tangible in our beautiful and broken world.
People of faith, be alert, be awake, be active: for now is the time to live the peace we preach. The high tide of turmoil around us has not yet been reached. Fear and ignorance are out searching for an opening in hearts wherever they can find them. Anger comes as quickly as if people were a box of matches looking for a way to be lit.
In this volatile atmosphere let us be a calm voice of reason. Let us speak with courtesy to all whom we encounter. Let us embody the civility we seek to inspire in others. Even if we think we are only whispering into the wind, our presence will be felt.
The people around us are being driven by forces that want a reaction from them.
Let us want something else: let us want their shared humanity, their common sense, their mutual hope for a better day.
As hard as it may be, speak peace into the storm, knowing that with each word you say you help to calm the soul of a troubled nation.
This is one of a weekly series of blog posts offered by One in the Spirit (OITS) — an initative of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. For more information on OITS, visit our diocesan webpage. Find Bishop Charleston’s quote in context on his Facebook page.