OUR SOUL IS ONE OF HOPE by Rector Chris Girata
OUR SOUL IS ONE OF HOPE was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, January 15, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Like me, you’ve likely read all you care to read about the capital riot and its aftermath, so I’ll put the news part of last week aside. Instead, I’d like to take a stab at what we do now. What do we do when our social fabric seems not just to be weak, but shredded? What do we do when we have seen such blatant disregard for legal protest? What do we do when huge groups of people seem willing and able to dehumanize others? The answer, in short: We choose love.
Now before you turn away, assuming I’ll fall into some naïve romantic narrative, hang with me. Love is not passive, love is active. Love is not sappy, love is fierce. Love is not weak, love is strong. Choosing love does not mean we choose to turn away from pain and conflict. Instead, choosing love means we choose one another.
Choosing love means we choose one another.
Choosing love is a commitment to the person, not the action or opinion. In our world, community is the ultimate expression of our humanity, and when we do not commit to one another, our community fails. When we choose to dehumanize others, we lose our own humanity, and that is something we cannot afford to do. We are in need of some true healing, and the only prescription is a fearless commitment to love.
Some members of our human family understand the heavy cost of choosing love. A champion of reconciliation in his home country of South Africa, Archbishop Desmund Tutu once wrote, “Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the pain, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking, but in the end, it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.”
Our soul is one of hope, found in the very core of our being and now that goodness must come forward.
I thank God that we are not in such a painful period as apartheid, but given the stress of the pandemic, the economy, the loneliness and the hate, we are all weighed down and exhausted. Even so, now is the time to turn toward one another, not away. Now is the time to speak up and let your voices be heard. Do not sit silently by as strangers steal our American story away from us. America was once described as “a nation with the soul of a church.” Our soul is one of hope, found in the very core of our being and now that goodness must come forward.
My friends, do not be discouraged. Those who choose fear, hurt, and hate are getting a lot of attention right now, but there are far more of us who choose hope, healing, and love. You are not alone. Continue to be generous, continue to seek connections, continue to reach understanding and continue to work for the good. Together, we can shine light in the darkest corners of our world. Together, we can make sure love wins.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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