Today I find myself breathing a little deeper and moving a little slower in my being. It is as if the accumulation of the experiences of this year has finally caused me to stop, to falter, to pause. Somewhere, in the past twenty-four hours, the pulse of my being has changed. I am not sure about you, or others, but I recognize that experiences of a harsh winter, work and life commitments, anxiety, and concern for self, family, friends, society, and world have engulfed me in powerful ways this year. In all this, I am aware and deeply appreciative of the persons that join me regularly in my journey, the anchors that hold me upon a path of care, of justice, and of dignity for others and for the world.
In this slow-moving, deep breathing reality, I read the words of Scripture this week, from Matthew:
‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.’ Matthew 10:29 – 31
This passage highlights Jesus speaking about his relationship with Father, the Holy One. It is a passage that shares the reality of hardship, concern, and fear, while underlining the reality of care, dignity, and worth.
I am reminded in the media, and in prayer, it seems daily, of the challenges of living life. In so many circumstances I read and see hardship, fear, injustice, and lack of dignity offered to human beings, and indeed to all creation. In so many more circumstances, I read and see of acts of justice, peacemaking, advocacy, and care, such that balances of power, struggles of justice, and acts of dignity are slowly being made right. Truth is being offered, however painful it may be, and life and routines are not proceeding in familiar patterns because injustice, evil, and oppression is being named, identified, and combatted.
#ThursdaysinBlack #BlacklivesMatter #MMIWG and so many other hashtags are being offered so that I can breathe more deeply and move more slowly in my actions, thoughts, and living. I am forced to examine and re-examine my place in the world, in society, in culture, community, and family, and see if I bring humility, justice, care, and love, or if I carry racism, oppression, privilege, and hate. I know sparrows and hairs are not as valuable as my presence to the Holy One; Do I believe and understand and live the reality that the life, the name, the being of other humans is just as valuable? Their hairs are my hairs; their breath is my breath. Their life is my life.
This weekend is Father’s Day weekend. I remember my role as father, and the presence of many fathers in my life. This weekend is the observance of Indigenous Peoples. This weekend is a reminder for me and for others of the value and blessing of each one’s name, being, presence, and value in all of creation. I was reminded of that on Thursday, as I observed #ThursdaysinBlack with my friend Noreen Duncan
I am reminded of that in the words from Matthew we are all valued; The National Bishops of the Anglican and Lutheran Canadian Church sum up this value quite profoundly:
A call to face our fears, whatever they may be;
A call to honour the dignity of each one and the value of every one;
A call to notice birds and nature with open hearts for the Creator’s wisdom;
The assurance that God is with us in all that we face.
As I breathe deeply and move slowly,
may I honour, value, and include all whom I encounter.
May I face pain and injustice and address it.
May I live gently within Creation,
believing and knowing the Creator within and all around me.