“As it is, there are many members, yet one body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:20
On a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago I sat in a circle with about fifteen people of ethnically diverse backgrounds to speak our truths and listen deeply to each other’s truths. We came together as part of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Circles facilitated by the Austin Health Commons and hosted by the YMCA. It was a gentle and powerful time of sharing and listening, guided by skilled facilitators who set healthy boundaries that kept the circle emotionally safe and supportive. We learned about ourselves and each other–what our experience of racial issues has been and how that has affected how we walk in the world. Each participant had a unique perspective based on our individual personalities and also of course on the vantage point from our particular ethnic background. Healing happened simply from the fact of sitting together in love. I’m deeply grateful for this experience of being among waked-up people who want to know ourselves and each other more fully–to reach across what can sometimes feel like unbridgeable divides.
My heart has been so heavy this week in response to the tragic shootings in El Paso and in Dayton. While at the time I am writing this the motive in the Dayton event has not yet been established, the motive in the El Paso event is all too evident. A young man who for whatever reasons had never taken part in a racial healing experience–be it an organized one or simply taking the time to get to know and listen to people he saw as different than himself–struck out in deadly misplaced fear and blame. And the loss is great. This profound observation from the great American novelist, playwright, and activist James Baldwin comes to mind, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
For forty-seven years I’ve participated in and sometimes led groups or classes focused on facing facts and reaching into ourselves and out toward others for healing of the wounds of racism. Yes, I’m really old enough for that to be true! I learned long ago that words are powerful, that stereotypes can literally kill, and that I am responsible for what comes out of my mouth and expresses in my attitudes and actions. I’m grateful to have had the interest and the opportunity as a young adult to study human communication in depth. This has enriched my life immensely. I continue to learn how to participate in creating solutions in human relationships. This is a vital aspect of my call into spiritual service and leadership. I am keenly aware that one cannot love God and have destructive interactions with one’s fellows.
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of our Unity movement, had a powerful vision expressed in one of his affirmations, “I Am One with the Upward, Progressive Movement of Life.” Friends we are being called to actively participate in this upward movement of life today. We are called to contribute to dismantling and healing old attitudes and actions that tell us that some human beings are better and deserve more than others. As we heal, we will of necessity face pain, both personal and societal. We can do this. God endows us with the Christ powers of release, forgiveness of self and others, and of life. The time is now. We are being called to live the profound Truth that we are all God’s children–valuable, whole, deserving, and respected members of this human family. There really is only One Presence and One Power and we are each and all expressions of it.
In the Love and Light of the Christ,