By Conference Minister Diane Weible
A couple years ago at Annual Gathering, I preached a sermon in which I focused on a simple statement that has become my own personal mission statement. “Anything that diminishes or destroys the humanity of any other person is what I need to fight against.”
As we draw close to a full year of sheltering in place, we are all exhausted and grieving. Five hundred thousand deaths from COVID and economic peril for the most vulnerable in our communities has risen to a degree we have never seen it. There was a job report that stated 100% of jobs lost in December were jobs held by women, most of them by Women of Color. The racial disparity and violence in our communities continues. Violence against Asian Americans has risen. Many of our children have not been in the classroom for almost a year and the weight of this on parents, many of whom are trying to work at least one full time job while home schooling their children, is too much to bear. The threat of eviction looms over so many families and effects their health in devastating ways.
I share these statements knowing that many of you have already heard them on the news or that you may even be experiencing first-hand, so you don’t need to be told of the reality of our society.
I do not share these facts without also reminding us of what I believe is the greatest hope we have as a people of faith:
- We are not alone; God is with us
- We are called to sacred and often difficult work and, with God, all things are possible.
When we answer the call to fight against anything that diminishes or destroys the humanity of another person, we are committing to showing up and working together to eliminated violence against any person; to work for equity for all people, regardless of skin color, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual identify; and to understand the way privilege dehumanizes individuals and costs ALL of us on levels that some of us are still struggling to completely understand.
My hope and prayer this Lenten season is that in your faith community and in your personal devotional times, you will be listening to the Still Speaking God, who is eager to remind all of us about the importance of this work, how much each one of us is called to be part of the solution, and how we can trust that when we act, God leads us forward.