Faces on Faith: Conflicted yet still connected
A number of years ago a man named Rodney King was brutally beaten by police, whose acquittal set off the 1992 Los Angeles riots. While still recovering from his injuries, Mr. King was interviewed and made what became a famous statement: “Can’t we all just get along?” His comments at the time reminded me of life in the 1960s. During that time, we watched President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy all be assassinated. We also witnessed violent protests regarding race and war. We were a people filled with conflict. Can’t we just all get along?
Now as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 crisis, we are challenged again. Our political representatives in Washington seem conflicted with state leaders. State leaders seem conflicted with local leaders, and people disagree with others over how slow or fast we should open up our economy again.
So in the midst of being at odds, can we rise above our feelings and find a pathway to caring for one another? There are plenty of needs that demand our immediate attention. We see the long line of cars filled with families who are looking for a meal. Others are still waiting for a loan or stimulus check just so they can pay the bills. We must applaud our doctors, nurses and first responders; who with little regard for their own safety put themselves in harm’s way to care for those afflicted with coronavirus. We must also pray for our local, state and federal leaders. They are under immense pressure to serve a public that demands they make the right decisions at the right time.
How can we all just get along? First, we can join our hearts in prayer. We may come from different faith backgrounds, but our common denominator is prayer. Secondly, as people of faith, we believe that love is greater than hate. God’s love is not selective. It is Agape – a Greco-Christian term referring to love, “the highest form of love, charity.” I think of it as amazing grace; God’s love for us with no strings attached. Finally, we can put this love into action. My experience has been when I pray, God often puts a name of a person or family that just needs a call. I believe that if we do this often enough we go from a hardened heart to a heart of gold.
So yes! I think we can get along in spite of our differences. In the midst of conflict, we can still stay connected. Stay safe and may God bless you and your family.
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.