The work of the “One in the Spirit” initiative is summarized as “equipping us to recover our deep connection to each other and to our world so we can participate more fully in the transforming work of love.” During the forty days of Lent we are amplifying the voices that equip us and inspire us in that work — and today we are inspired by Diane Jardine Bruce — Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles reminding us that words matter; seeing matters; love matters.
I saw you “being” under the fig tree.
Why do we not translate that phrase this way?
For that is what Jesus said to Nathanael.
Jesus saw ALL of Nathanael –
the color of his skin
the nature of his heart,
even as Nathanael questioned –
Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Jesus accepted him,
Jesus loved him,
Jesus welcomed him.
I saw you “being” every day as I drove to work
for more than a year.
You jogged at the same early hour
along the same route.
I saw you stopped by the police that day.
I saw you and I stopped to tell the police
I know him – I see him every day —
he belongs here.
The police didn’t see or understand your “being” there,
they only saw the color of your skin.
They ordered me to get back in my car —
this was not my business.
But you ARE my business.
What happens to you is my business
that is what love is all about.
I acted out of love stopping my car that morning.
Even after the police ordered me back into my car
I told them I saw you every day and I looked forward
to seeing you.
The police didn’t care.
We caught each other’s eyes –
I saw that inaudible thank you,
and you saw my shock at how you were treated.
I never saw you again.
No more jogging at the same time
on the same route.
I cry every time I think about you
and the lack of love shown to you.
I see you “being”.
I see the pain in you of being denied your basic needs and rights.
I see the pain in you of being judged and acted upon cruelly
because of the color of your skin.
I see the burden you carry of having to explain yourself
when we white people don’t have to explain ourselves.
I see you.
Your words are important.
Your life is important.
Your witness is important.
Let’s see each other “being”.
Words matter.The Right Reverend Diane Jardine Bruce, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
photo credit: jcomp