Love and Justice in an Age of Grief
This morning, our personal vocation and our collective calling to make God’s love and justice real is being tested like never before. All at once we find ourselves lost without a map or compass in unfamiliar and threatening territory… and we read the headlines and realize that our commission – our role – our calling – remains unchanged.
Our calling and challenge is to assure that love wins and to make real the assurance that the moral arc of the universe – while it may at this moment seem infinitely long – bends towards justice. Amidst division that has never been more plain – this is God’s calling for all of us.
Now is the time for spiritual preparation so that when opportunities for witness emerge, we will be ready to bring unfailing hearts of love along with untempered insistence on justice. Our preparation must include coming together to better understand our own white privilege, racism and classism. Our preparation must include waking up to and understanding what our country and culture are telling us. Our preparation must include a sober recognition that God’s creation – our home – is collapsing all around us. We must shed our cynicism. If despair propels us to disengage, let us instead draw upon courage to meet dysfunction with hope.
For months the media has made clear that millions are angry. If hope and change describes the mandate of 2008, anger and a longing to restore what once was is this morning’s headline. I believe that anger is rooted in grief – grief for a world that is no more; grief for a world to which we cannot return. Our God is a God of hope. Yet the prophets teach us that we get to hope only by facing reality and moving through our grief.
Join me in responding to God’s call to continue to testify to truth. Let our churches each find a way to create a safe enough space to engage “Truth and Reconciliation Conversations” so that we can leave behind the divisions and denial we are drawn to. May our confidence in God’s loving embrace allow us to welcome lamentation and grief for a world that no longer exists – for time we cannot turn back. If we find ourselves awash in fear, let us risk sharing with one another our gratitude for ordinary and extraordinary blessings until our hearts conform to a life of thanksgiving. Let us bear daily witness to the single garment of destiny that binds us together in an inescapable network of interdependence. And let us reawaken our imagination so that the new creation God is calling us to become may be awash in the love and justice we, with God’s help, will make real.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal,
Conference Minister and President