“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself…and who is my neighbor?” (from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
I write to you today, peering at my computer screen through tear-filled eyes. My heart hurts; I am angry, I am fearful; my very soul cries out: ENOUGH!!! God’s children are being killed! They are black, they are sworn officers of the law, they are parents and siblings and beloved family members; they are all beloved of God! ENOUGH!
We are a nation that has come to embrace its freedoms so tightly that we are now choking the life out of each other’s freedoms. We are a nation that values the right to free speech to such a degree that the bellicose rhetoric of today incites the less thoughtful to act and react with violence because of the words of hate and intolerance someone utters. We have become a nation that has lost patience with those who differ from us to so great an extent that elimination of difference is preferable to loving our neighbor. ENOUGH!
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we are once again given a lesson in recognizing and appreciating our neighbor: “the one who showed mercy.” Mercy, a word that is often also translated as ‘kindness’. Kindness and mercy are attributes of God; they are desirable qualities for humankind, albeit inconsistently found. As President Obama stated, “people of good will can do better.” I suggest: we must do better if we wish to claim the good that God requires of us.
ENOUGH! How much longer before we can all live in a nation where we will not be “judged by the color of [our] skin but by the content of [our] character.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) ENOUGH!
Let us pray.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 815)
The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs Jr.
10th Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan