There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
“I am thankful for all that has gone on; I learned more Black history this past year than ever, things I had no idea about,” my 89-year-old aunt. And she lived and is part of Black history each day just by who she is.
It has been a difficult past few years. Not only have we around the world faced a pandemic which could be showing us how interconnected we are rather than emphasizing disparities, but we also have come starkly face-to-face with the everyday ways we trample on or simply ignore the full humanity of others. We see how much fear and hate have a hold on us.
It seems a lifetime since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. This particular encounter between police officers and a Black American pushed our country and the world to action, even small actions in a way other killings did not. Perhaps it was the combination of nonchalance in Derek Chauvin’s brutality, perhaps it was the painful frustration bystanders of all ages had in an inability to stop the action, but whatever it was, people around the world started living differently.
It is the small steps we take intentionally in the wake of injustice and hatred which help us all enter more fully into the life God dreams for us. Most of us will not face the major decisions, but each one of us faces the small ones every day. Below I list of few of the steps I took, and knowledge I gained thanks to the upheavals of the past year.
— Seeking out Black-owned businesses, I discovered a yoga teacher whose spirit of gratitude guides me deeply. That her day job is as ob/gyn assisting women with difficult pregnancies blows me away. I give thanks; I am changed.
— Learning from Deacon Kay’s research on indigenous people of New York, I discovered a range of indigenous communities still exist here as do museums, historical markers, and stained glass windows to honor them. I learned Benjamin Franklin used some of the structure of the Haudensaunee to develop the U.S. Constitution.
— Recognizing the value of pronouns (she/her/hers; they/their/theirs; he/him/his) shifted my thinking about gender even further to a deeper level of comfort and compassion for those transitioning genders or those who are gender-fluid. After all, I was the girl who took physics before the official start of the school day so I could also take advanced home ec. I did not fit the norm.
— Striving to assume the best of someone who is different from me shifts my thinking from annoyance frustration or worse to that of kindness and openness.
— Reading of a young woman at a small Christian school in Kansas who refuses to accept the assault on her was anything but rape, and has taken sound steps toward seeking indictment, gives me courage to speak the truth and live with dignity.
Each little step of choosing to smile and speak calmly, of being willing to speak up firmly and to learn about other people’s lives and experiences gradually transforms us and leads us closer to the heart of Christ.
In Christ, we are our unique selves, those who hold a particular divine spark. In Christ, we all are one. May we each take the small steps to live these truths.
With every blessing,