Friday, July 8, 2016

In Response to Continued Tragedy

What is at stake is a social movement, a call for social change in social theory and practice. Technology is transforming our society continuously, industry is recklessly dynamic, yet our thinking is static. Prosperity and comfort have made us listless, smug, indifferent. We enjoy our privileges, we detest any dislocation in our intellectual habits. But automation is with us, and so is poverty, and unemployment..
These words sound appropriate for today, a day when the need for a universal call for social change rings loud and true.

The events of the past week, with killings in St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, are another reminder of the deep pain that envelopes our nation, and our world. We grieve - we grieve for lives violently and needlessly cut short. We grieve for the loss of hope. We grieve for our loss of innocence. We grieve for the knowledge of what human beings can do to each other. We grieve for what these events may trigger in the future. Our hearts are heavy with pain. 

We long for change, real, substantive change that will make our world a safer and more equitable place. We long for wisdom and compassion to rule the world. We long for a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We long for friendship that endures. We long for peace.

The quote above is not from this week, or even this year. These words are from a talk entitled “The White Man on Trial,” and they were spoken by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in February 1964. They sound discouragingly contemporary.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel also said, “There are three ways to mourn, the first is to cry, the second is to grow silent, and the third is to transform sorrow into song,” and, in reference to marching at Selma with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. he said, "I was praying with my feet."

What do we do with our grief?

To begin, we understand that we are not alone. Our neighbors of all colors are grieving, too. And so, we need to weep. We need to cry out our grief, and also our anger and our pain and our despair. And we need to understand that these emotions we feel are a sign of the goodness in our heart. They are a sign of our caring and our compassion. They are a sign of our ability to love. Let our grief flow, let it flow that we may know that we are human. Let is flow, that we may heal.

And then, let us grow silent. Let us grow silent and allow the voice of Mystery to well up within us, to heal our hearts and show us the path forward. Let us grow silent that it may be our love and compassion and not our anger and our despair that drive us forward. Let us grow silent that the Voice of Meaning may speak in our hearts and our souls. Let us grow silent.

And out of our silence, let song spring forth. Let prayer spring forth and propels our feet into meaningful and compassionate actions to bring healing to our communities and our nation. Let us sing our a song of justice, and let us pray with our feet.

The world may sometimes feel like it doesn't change, but it does, and we are the agents of that change. Let us harness our grief to do good in the world.

Shabbat shalom - may the One who brings peace to the high heavens bring peace to our hearts and to our world.

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen 

No comments:

Post a Comment