Dear Calvary Parishioners,
The nation was rocked this week by the white supremacist mass shootings in Buffalo. As Christians, Jesus called us to walk with him, take up our cross, and follow him. As people of faith in 2022 in America, we have a cross to bear as we continue to reckon with the hatred that storms around us and sometimes even within our own hearts.
In Vestry this past Tuesday, we unpacked part of Calvary’s vision: To be Jesus’ heart, hands and feet, humbly collaborating with our neighbors to realize beloved community.
We started to get to the core of what it means to live as God’s Beloved Community. I believe it starts with living as God’s beloved children. Bishop Jon Bruno, who ordained me, once said, “You and I can’t love our neighbors as ourselves if we don’t actually love ourselves.”
A person motivated to annihilate a group of people with a gun, harboring a “replacement theory,” most certainly at their core does not have a sense that they are beloved of God. Because one who knows they are beloved of God knows that God’s abundant love is freely available and without limit.
Howard Thurman describes this belovedness as being a child of God in his book, Jesus and the Disinherited, “The awareness of being a child of God tends to stabilize the ego, and results in new courage, fearlessness and power. To the degree that a person knows this that he is a child of God, he is unconquerable from within and without.”
The Reverend Alice Conner came and spoke to us about her ministry at University of Cincinnati through The Edge House campus ministry this past week. She shared how she travelled with students on a Civil Rights pilgrimage to Selma, Atlanta, Memphis, and other historic sites. One member asked her, “How is UC addressing the reality of racism today?”
She said she could respond to that in many different ways, but perhaps what was most important for her and the students she served was realizing that white people have the ability, the privilege to keep living each day as if racism does not impact them. People of color do not have that same privilege.
So long as any one beloved child of God lives in fear, we have a mission to more deeply love. And I believe that being able to love starts with knowing we ourselves are beloved of God.
My siblings in Christ, will you join me in opening yourself to receiving the truth that you are beloved of Christ? You are. Just as you find yourself right now.
Here are a few ways we explored with the Vestry as exercises to help discover our belovedness (source: https://remerge.org/blog/you-are-the-beloved/):
Slow your life down to be with God and allow the Spirit to search you and know you and to discover why you are doing what you’re doing. What’s driving you?
Sit in key texts in the scriptures that point to who we are in Christ like; Ephesians 1, Psalms 139, John 15, or I John 3.
See a Christian counselor/therapist/spiritual director or trusted person that’s on the same journey as you. Dig into your past and discover the core lie you’re believing about yourself and begin to sit with Christ’s Spirit in silence in order to begin the journey of healing.
Pay attention to how Christ is showing up through the “other”. The other may be your spouse, close friend, someone you are called to serve or someone that is completely different from you racially, culturally and socio-economically. I am a firm believer that God’s Spirit is always speaking, it’s just a matter of how aware we are to recognize and discern the voice.
And in owning that we are beloved, we can see belovedness in all of God’s beautiful children. And all then may safely breathe and live.
The Reverend Allison English