"For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline"--2 Timothy 1:7
The night before his crucifixion and death, Jesus sat around a table and broke bread with his disciples. During the course of the meal, Jesus gets up, takes the towel wrapped around his waist and begins to wash the feet of all those gathered including even Judas who will betray him. Jesus' actions the night before his death always catch me dead in my tracks because despite knowing that Judas will betray him, Jesus still chooses to reach out, wash Judas' feet and love him in the midst of it all.
This morning, I woke up with the stark reality that the world is not the world I hoped we were moving towards. In fact, today I have to be honest I am grieving; grieving for my friends of color, for my LGBTQ friends, for my Muslim and Jewish friends, and for all those who woke up this morning full of fear; a fear that I more than anything want to take away. For now it seems that all I can do is promise to take the log out of my own eye and then show that log to my white privileged friends.
I live in one of the reddest states in this country (which means that there is work yet to be done). And yet yesterday I went to the polls to vote for the candidate that I could put my trust in. I went to be a voice not an echo. I went for all those I love who deserve to walk around in this world not crippled with fear for themselves and those they love. I went for the women in my life who have taught me what it means to truly "love my neighbors as I love myself." I went for my mom, my sister, my friend's daughters and all the women in my life.
"Holy Fire," by Charis Psallo.
And yet today, I realize that my vote wasn't enough because I didn't do enough. Everything is and will be okay for me. But that reality is not what my POC, LGBTQ, Muslim, and Jewish friends woke up to this morning. The most important thing for us to do right now is simply to sit down, shut up and listen (and I mean truly listen--listen without excuses, agendas, or comebacks) Listen to the people voicing experiences as a person of color, a person with a different sexual orientation or a person on the margins of society.
Today, more than ever, I am filled with a holy fire; a holy fire that calls me to live out "diakonia" (a Greek word for service) for all God's people. I heard that call from the very moment I saw how others treated my own mother because of the stigma associated with her bipolar disorder. I heard that call when I sat on our front porch step the night my sister asked me why her LGBTQ friend was being bullied for who he is. That holy fire has been lit in my heart and soul for ALL those on the margins. And that holy fire calls me to live out these words from Micah 6:8 "to do justice. Love kindness/mercy. And walk humbly with our God."
But I am still full of many questions and concerns. As the body of Christ, we are called to love all! As the body of Christ, we are called to see those outcasts who are on the outside of our gates like Lazarus! As the body of Christ, we are called to advocated for those who are different than us. As the body of Christ, we are called to sit down and shut up when those on the margins of society are speaking! The truth is, that as the body of Christ, our work is just beginning. So from today forward, I'm choosing to pull up a chair, sit down and LISTEN whenever my friends--who are people of color, LGBTQ, Muslim or Jewish--speak because now more than ever, we need to hear what they have to say.
Tara Ulrich (@diakonia78) is a single ELCA Lutheran girl called to the ministry of Word and Service who loves the prairies of ND! Jesus-Follower/Author/Sister/Friend. She blogs at prayingontheprairie.blogspot.com