Why? Beloved Community!

“Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.“

I grew up in a loving family in a great small town community. And then purely by accident (at least from my perspective), I found myself in an experience of both love and community like I never had before. The welcome was what I would learn later in life many call radical hospitality. There was a genuine gratefulness for your arrival that quickly evolved into a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of the you that you, and only you, possessed. A gathering of humans in the midst of God’s creation that held respect for the dignity of all as the unequivocal norm. Regardless of who you were, where you came from, where you were on the journey, the unwavering norm was respect. Love of God, love of neighbor, love of self was at the heart of all that lived and moved and had its being. This I now know was my first experience of Beloved Community.

Many have suggested that the world is now in the midst of two great pandemics. The first is a virus that has spread across the globe, that has impacted the physical, spiritual, emotional, economical wellness of almost every human being. In its all consuming wake the world has been united in terms of impact. And, the world has been divided with respect to the response to the impact. On one hand we see health care, other essential workers and a huge cadre of good volunteers unselfishly sacrificing for others. On the other hand, we see people who understand this is their moment to express what they believe are their individual rights. I invite you to once again read the words above from Dr. King and then reflect: where are you seeing and not seeing the Beloved Community being lived out in the virus pandemic?

The second pandemic is the great civil unrest that has fueled the long smoking embers of racial inequality and injustice. This pandemic has also had a significant impact on the physical, spiritual, emotional, economical wellness of a large cross section of humans. This, too, has caused a real divide with respect to response to the impact. On one hand there is an entire generation from a cross section of humanity, along with many of their elders, who have long been carrying the banner, who are demanding a change to the paradigm of how people are treated. On the other hand there are those who are responding to this impact with great anxiety and fear manifested in fight or flight. I invite you once again to read the words above from Dr. King and reflect: where are you seeing and not seeing the Beloved Community being lived out in the racial inequity and injustice pandemic?

Participating in bringing forth the Beloved Community that Dr. King, and literally all sacred stories, call forth is a choice each of us have. For me, having been blessed beyond measure to experience multiple occasions of being part of a Beloved Community, there is but one choice. Love God, love neighbor, love self.

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