What About The Others?

Offered As We Gathered In Prayer at the Jewish Community Center

In Response to Bomb Threats

February 24, 2017

We Stand As One today
With our Jewish brothers and sisters
Saying No to violence and hate

We Stand As One
With our Muslim brothers and sisters,
Our immigrant brothers and sisters,
Our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,
Saying No to violence and hate

We Stand As One
Because we believe that We Are One
We are all children of God
We are all made in the image of God
We are all loved equally by God

We stake our lives on these beliefs

We Stand As One
Saying that we will show up for each other,
We have each others’ back,
We won’t let hate and fear and violence
Have the last word

We may worship God differently,
We may have different holy books,
We may have different beliefs,
We may have different names for God
But the God who has many names
Is one God Who calls us all and claims us all
As precious children loved, honored
And called into service of the least of these

I have never understood who gets to decide
When they see colorful things growing out of the ground
Which are flowers and which are weeds
They are all colorful, many are fragrant
And they are all creations of God

The same goes for people —
Who gets to decide who is a flower
and who is a weed that needs to be eradicated?
Who gets to decide which human beings are worthy,
Which human beings have value,
Which human beings can be discarded, dismembered,
Disfellowshipped, disenfranchised,
Detained, deported, and denied?

Hate robs all of us of our humanity.
Fear robs all of us of our humanity.
Violence robs all of us of our humanity.
All of us.

If we believe that,
We have to ask ourselves some hard questions.
If we believe that in all of our diversity
We are One,
If we believe that in all of our diversity
We are all made in the image of God,
If we believe that in all of our diversity
We are all precious children of God,
Then what about those Other people?

What about the haters?
What about the fearmongers?
What about those who resort to violence?
What about those other people
Who make us and our neighbors into the Other?

How hard it is not to hate the haters.
How hard it is not to want to turn the tables on the fearmongers.
How hard it is to believe that they too are precious children of God

But if we are truly about seeking the healing of the world,
Then is it not required of us
To love those who are so very, very different from us
In their beliefs, values and actions?
Is it not required of us to love our enemies
And pray for those who persecute us?
Is it not required of us to soften our hearts,
To find some inkling of compassion
For people who are consumed
By hate, fear and violence?
Is it not required of us to seeking the healing
Of those who have lost their humanity
To hate, fear and violence.

If we can’t feel love for them,
Can we at least find a way to act in loving ways toward them?
If we can’t act in loving ways,
Can we at least find a way to at least have compassion for them?
If we can’t find compassion for them,
Can we at least pray for them?

Our faith challenges us to do so.
To believe that their humanity can be reclaimed
And the layers of hate and fear can be stripped away
To reveal the image of God also endowed in them

It may be hard to stomach
But the God’s truth is,
Our safety, our survival,
Our salvation
In its broadest and deepest sense
may depend on it.

Rev. Angie Wright
Associate Director, GBM