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  • Mary Palinkos

Whom Shall We Be?

“Whoa, something's happening,” my husband said, looking at his phone. We turned on the news. A monument to democracy was being breached by a violent mob.

An Axios poll this week showed that 4 in 5 Americans believe the country is falling apart. For too long, we've ignored the gaping wounds that plague our nation and originate in white supremacy. These wounds prevent us from achieving the ideals set out by our founders: that we are all created equal, free and beloved by God.

Luckily, our faith can offer guidance through challenging times like this one—and even some hope.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, as usual, speaks the truth our world needs to hear. He reminds us to choose community. Chaos, violence, and hatred are not God’s way.

Disciples of Jesus are called to work for justice and healing in our world. We're compelled to seek love. But the love Jesus teaches is not a squishy, sentimental love; we can only understand this love in the context of the cross. Bishop Curry's explanation of what "love" looks like at a time such as this is poignant:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry addresses the nation on Jan. 8, 2021.

He reminds us: “In moments of danger, a decision must be made.” What decision will we make? Whom shall we be? Will we be healers, givers, builders of community? Or will we sow seeds of division and anger?

The latter is certainly easier. But Jesus calls on us to choose the former.

The prayer that keeps coming to my mind is one attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. You can find it in many places, including page 833 of our Book of Common Prayer. Say this prayer with me this week. Let’s be the beacons of God’s love—the only thing that can heal our world:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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