“Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ ”
– Luke 10:37b
How does our faith impact how we are citizens?
This is the question we’ve been exploring at St. Michael’s during Lent. We’ve invited several local, state, and national elected officials to visit with us, to talk about their concerns, and to listen to ours. Last Wednesday we participated in On the Table, a day-long event sponsored by the Bluegrass Community Foundation where those who live, work, and study in Lexington could share our concerns, ideas, and hopes for Lexington. St. Michael’s was honored to open our doors to both church members and those who live in our neighborhood to gather and share.
We talked about access to transportation, access to mental health care, and access to safe homes. We shared our concerns with economic and racial divisions in Lexington. We wondered how Lexington can continue its hospitality to refugees and immigrants. We asked how many people in our communities were doing without basic necessities like food, clean water, and safe homes. We recognized that things like internet access, which a decade ago was a luxury, has now become a necessity for many, especially for students, and asked how Lexington could ensure citizens are not left behind.
We wondered, through different facts and observations and ideas, how we could love our neighbors as ourselves. Because that is, at a most basic level, the way we love God and our neighbor – we want the same things for them we want for ourselves. We recognize that to create a world of equality and access, some of us must give up our privilege that has taken too much through the decades and centuries to ensure others have enough.
We rarely do this by blaming, denigrating, or harming our neighbors. We do this by recognizing our personal responsibility to care for each other, to love each other.
Jesus’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves doesn’t begin when we walk in the church doors or end when we depart. It guides us each moment of our day. It calls us to awareness, to listen to stories, to share our own, and to act. We as Christians do not get to remain silent, to remain dispassionately detached from those who suffer. Jesus was not.
We are called to love, to respond, to help heal the world. In the words of our dismissal, we are called to love and serve the Lord and all those whom Jesus loves.
My hope is our conversations do not end with conversations, but move us to action. My hope is each member of St. Michael’s – and each member of our diocese and each congregation – finds tangible ways to act in our communities, to be part of the movement to better our communities, and to heal the world.
The Rev. Laurie Brock, Rector
St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church, Lexington