Saying For Today: We become inclusive, when we are inclusive, for what we are, we do; and what we do, we become.
Brian Wilcox 'Promises of New Beginnings'
There is a strength beyond our strength, giving strength to our strength. Whether we bow our knee before an altar or Spend our days in the delusions of our significance, The unalterable picture remains the same; Sometimes in the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, We can hear the whisper in the heart Giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.
*Howard Thurman. Meditations of the Heart.
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A frustrated woman, an acquaintance, visited the Sage. She complained, "Dandelions are covering my yard. I've tried to get rid of them, but they keep coming back." The Sage said, "What's the problem?" "The problem? The dandelions, of course!" The Sage replied, "Then, it seems it's time to welcome them." "What?" asked the acquaintance, not able to make sense of what the Sage said. "When you return home," encouraged the Sage, "look at them and say, 'Henceforth, I welcome and celebrate you. You belong with the planted flowers, the grass, the trees, and the sky.' If you mean this, never again will the dandelions be a problem to you." The acquaintance returned in a few weeks, this time in a happy mood, saying, "It worked! My yard is covered with dandelions, and they're quite beautiful to see."
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One sees a dandelion as an unwanted weed, something to get rid of; another sees it as a lovely flower plant, to admire. How persons see dandelions is somewhat like how humans see those who do not look like they do. Some see, "You're equal to me," others see, "You're inferior to me." Is a dandelion unequal to another plant? Not really, even if one esteems it so. Maturity includes challenging our prejudices, choosing to see differently, inviting more love and kindness into our hearts.
I enjoy gazing upon the dandelions in our yard. They are lovely. I appreciate the diversity in our world of skin colors, nations, customs, languages, ways of dressing, forms of worship ... - Amazing! Wonderful! The heart embraces diversity, not as toleration, but as celebration.
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James 2.8 -
You are acting well if you truly fulfill the royal law in the scripture, "You shall love others as you love yourself." But if you show partiality, you commit error and are convicted by the law as violators.
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I wrote the following July 5, 2014. I repeat and reaffirm it amid the present protests for racial equality and social justice.
The simple confession "we are" is more vital to our welfare and survival as a world community than all the religious confessions and creeds ever written. We can live together in Love without the confessions and creeds, but we cannot live together in Love apart from the inward confession and conviction "we are."
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Greg lived in a little, rural farm community, in an old white frame house. He had a little brother, four years younger.
It was around 1970, in Georgia, in the United States. While the law said no racial segregation, blacks and whites lived mostly separate. Whites had their place, blacks their place. Toleration was the norm, certainly not inclusion. Neither Greg nor his little brother would be surprised to hear racial slurs about black citizens. The "n-word" might be used by someone, as though it was fine to speak thus in this white, conservative, evangelical region. Of course, who would say, "Stop it!"? No one.
The little brother walked into the dining room one day. Amazingly, and wonderfully, there was Greg's friend from school, sitting and eating at the family table. His friend, a black youth, at the table - the table, a symbol of welcome, hospitality, and equality.
Greg's mother spoke to the little brother about how proud she was of his older brother. He could see that pride in her eyes, and the little brother felt that same pride for his brother.
I know this, for Greg was my oldest brother. Lynett was our mother. The table was where we sat daily for a meal as a family. Greg reminded us his friend was family too, so persons of his race family also.
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My brother invited his friend - a youth whom I played basketball with in high school -, to our table. How? My brother had already welcomed him into his heart. Greg did not, as we say where I came from, have it in his heart not to.
My oldest brother left me with a reminder, something not to compromise, but to hold near and dear until my death - he died suddenly at aged 34: We are means that we are.
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Today, amid the protests in the United States and other countries, I am thankful for Greg's kind spirit, his heart of welcome. He could have thought, "No, I won't, we white folk just don't do that." He, instead, said, "Come, welcome, we're equals." That youth was given the gift of recognition by a white youth that he, and his race, belonged as equals among equals. This was a simple but profound reminder that we is I. If I turn you away from my table, my heart, that would be a violation against humanity, against myself.
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Yet, we must transcend the notion of "law" - that is, I must include you, I am told to include you, I should include you, I ought to include you, God told me I am wrong not to include you. That is the spirit of "law." The way of Grace, the heart of Love, is, "I want to include you, I can do no other." We become inclusive, when we are inclusive, for what we are, we do; and what we do, we become.
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So, today, I leave you with a question - remembering the meal table is a symbol and a challenge: Whom do you invite to your table?
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