NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE by Rector Chris Girata
NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, May 22, 2020
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
In seminary, one of my professors spoke about holy friendships and the idea has stuck with me. Holy friends are not common and perhaps they’re not even the people we first choose to be around. But holy friends are the people we really need in our lives. Dr. L. Gregory Jones, current dean of Duke University Divinity School, described holy friends as the people who “challenge the sins we have come to love, affirm the gifts we are afraid to claim, and help us dream dreams we otherwise would not dream.” They’re the people who tell us the truth, the people who stick with us when the going gets tough and those who help us imagine a truly better future.
find the holy in your friends.
Holy friends challenge the sins we have come to love. We are all physically separated from one another and that tends to give us time in which we can lose ourselves. Perhaps we scroll through too much social media, allow ourselves to drown in too many news stories or succumb to fear in ways we had never imagined. Whichever way we “sin,” none of it is good for us. Holy friends remind us that it’s OK not to be OK and when everything is not fine, however we feel is normal.
Holy friends affirm the gifts we are afraid to claim. When we look back at hard periods in our collective history and hard periods in our personal histories, we find that the one constant is change. Change will happen to each of us, no matter what. Just think about this current quarantine. There are people baking like they never have before (seriously, sourdough is the breakout star of quarantine!). There are people sewing face masks for strangers when they’ve never sewed before. There are people riding their bikes, waving to neighbors, decorating their front steps, and showing kindness to strangers every day. Love your gifts, share your gifts, no matter what they are, even if your gift is making the perfect loaf of sourdough.
The moment to change the world is now, and we can be part of that change.
Holy friends help us dream dreams we otherwise would not dream. Change will happen in our world, and I believe the time for change is now. What our world was before this virus was not good enough. The inequality, insecurity, and pain of our neighbors and our world was not OK, and now this crisis gives us a chance to right those wrongs. What problem did you think was too big? What issue did you think you couldn’t impact? What box had others put you in that no longer fits? The moment to change the world is now, and we can be part of that change.
We may be separated, but we are not alone. We are surrounded by good and generous people, and we can find the holy friends we need to change the world for the good. Together, we can turn this ship, we can right so many wrongs, and we can be the change we hope to see. And I’m grateful to have holy friends to walk with me.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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