Cherish the Image of God in all of us.
The image of God as Lover is the image I find most conducive to prayer. Lovers long to know one another. They take pleasure in revealing their innermost thoughts and hopes and dreams to one another. They share their burdens with each other, knowing they will be heard and understood. They are willing to speak the truth to one another in love, to be open and honest in their dealings. They respect and cherish one another.
These are the words of brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. These mean a great deal to me today, because I had the esteemed opportunity to be with twenty-five brothers and sisters in Christ this past weekend, all who are working to find a solution to the racism that is again permeating our society. It seems that as man, we find it difficult to accept the other as one of us.
The session opened Friday with the leader looking into the eyes of one of us and saying that he sees the face of God in his face. And it ended with a suggestion to place a mirror on the outer church wall asking people to see God in one’s own face and if it were the face of another, would asking if that changed one’s view.
Throughout the weekend, the image of God was surrounding all of the participants, as we discussed, laughed, cried, and vowed that we must continue the work we began, because as the Bible says, we cannot love God if we do not love one another, no matter who we look like or what language we speak.
Racism is not fun to discuss; as a matter of fact, it is very difficult. We were male and female, black and white; we were honest with each other: and, I saw a video, in which early teenage black girls said that they weren’t pretty because they were not white; this upset me in a way that I was not prepared. And, I repeat, through it all was an aura of love surrounding us. We shared this love equally; we did not see each other as black or white, male or female; we saw each other as equal children of God, at one with God, and at one with each other. My prayer is that our society will address this issue, perhaps by showing more people of color in TV ads, so that these young girls will not feel ugly; they are not.
As we left the seminar, we each shared an idea that could make a difference, or, could allow people to think about racism and seeing the face of God. The mirror mentioned above was one; another, suggested by many, is to challenge ourselves and those we work with, live with, pray with, to speak out when we see something that is not right. We don’t need to be confrontational, unless we want to; but, we can suggest that perhaps there might be a better expression to use, or a better way to address an issue.
What does all this mean? Nothing, if we do not address this head on. The soon-to-be minority white population of this country must accept that people of color are also children of God and deserve a place at the table. If we profess to love God, and follow the teachings of Jesus, then we must do as He did – work for and with those living in the shadows of society.
Just a few thoughts to think about.