Rodney King’s question still haunts us.
We want the answer to be “yes”, but the reality is that we are facing old and new emerging challenges that threaten to widen and deepen the divide. “No Rodney, I am sad to say that, for the moment, we cannot and will not get along with one another until we share a common denominator.”
The horrific events of 2017 provide a template for us to use as a guide for creating unity and togetherness. It has been said that tough times bring out the best in people.
We have witnessed a global outpouring of sympathy, support, and concern for people that have suffered loss and devastating destruction. I have no doubt that we will continue to respond. The response to this wide variety of catastrophic events is encouraging. We have witnessed people moving beyond the concerns of ethnicity, gender, social status, economic standing, religion and race in order that ruined lives might be restored.
I have been blown away by the genuine care and concern expressed and exhibited in response to the crisis we have faced in 2017. Imagine the progress we could make if we would choose to practice this sort of selfless kindness on a regular basis. Imagine what could happen if we treated every day as an opportunity to assist others in their moments of pain, suffering, and loss.
Rodney’s question can be answered in the affirmative. We can get along! The key is to take the focus away from our own navels long enough to see others that are hurting and are dealing with the effects of devastation and loss. When we focus on restoring others, instead of on our own self-preservation, unity becomes possible. The challenges we face are not insurmountable. The problems that hinder unity and foster a sense of togetherness can be overcome.
This type of selflessness is at the heart of the Gospel. Jesus emptied himself in order that he might serve. His example of servant-leadership is what the Church is called to emulate. Jesus used the metaphors of “salt” and “light” to describe how we should engage our world for maximum effectiveness. We are to become penetrators that transform and change our communities as we engage them through mission and ministry. As we engage our modern culture we must be sure to “keep the light on the lampstand” for maximum effectiveness and to make sure that the salt does not “lose its saltiness” by becoming bland in an attempt to blend.
Rodney, the good news is that one day we will all get along. One day the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness and Christ will reign supreme. One day we will sit down at the same table as sisters and brothers united in Christ Jesus.
Until that day comes let us work together after the example of Christ. Let us promote healing, peace, reconciliation, justice, faith, hope and love. Let us focus on making sure that no child goes to bed hungry, no elderly person faces another day of loneliness, no homeless person needs to go without shelter, no prisoner is so punished that they are denied dignity, love and compassion, and that no one is left to face life without hope and help. As we minister let us not neglect to share the message of God’s redeeming love and grace offered freely to a needy world.