“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Galatians 5: 13-14
The Apostle Paul’s exhortation was delivered to the Galatian Christians, a people struggling to understand the role of law in light of their experience of Christ, arguing amongst themselves about how the message of love in Christ could be reconciled to the framework they had been living under for generations, the law of the patriarchs.
The events of last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia bring to mind these words from Paul. We are a country and a people and a Church still struggling with the legacy of the Civil War and the social order it upended. Our cultural landscape is marked with the very real monuments of the legacies of slavery and racism that our country was built upon – we see them memorialized in statues, coursing through the lead-poisoned veins of our children in Flint, and brought forth through the words and actions of the hate-filled.
Our cultural landscape is marked with the very real monuments of the legacies of slavery and racism that our country was built upon.
As Christians, we know that the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor is always in the forefront of our identity, and that any actions to denigrate, debase, or otherwise diminish one another are not of God. White supremacists and other groups seeking to suppress others based on dubious classifications such as race have no claim on the Christian gospel and they have no basis in Jesus. Their message of segregation and subjugation must be refuted by those of us who call Jesus, Lord.
The prayers of the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan are with those terrorized by the actions of white supremacy in Charlottesville and with people everywhere who are oppressed, endangered, or otherwise threatened by those who claim Christ in the midst of hatred. In their stead we claim hope and compassion for all.
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan
Beth Barkley, Secretary
Stephanie King, Vice President
The Rev. Sue Rich
The Rev. Dan Scheid, President
The Rev. Lydia Speller