By Rev. Brittany Graves
It is a part of our ethos as people of faith to stand up for the well-being of others, especially among those that are considered on the margins in society. It has always been natural for me to build relationships with people that society may ostracize and intrinsically treat everyone with dignity and respect to the best of my ability. Afterall, we are all created in the image of God and ought to treat each other like it, even when dominant culture is not reflective of seeing everyone as equitable in society.
It has not crossed my mind to look down on anyone that society demeans. Rather I question and challenge when society upholds those that do not have honest or equitable values. A world of unjust systems and common misconceptions teaches us to see people in an often negative or untrue ways, instead we can diligently confront perceptions and recognize each other’s humanity.
May we hold space for how our identity or upbringing influences how we see, or don’t see, each other. Self-awareness is always a key component to greater capacity in observing our personal responses and how we show up in the world. Connection to a diverse group of friends or community helps us better engage the experience and valuable stories of people with a background unlike our own.
Questions to consider:
- What preconceived notions can you recall that you have had or see often in dominant culture?
- Whose story or experience can you learn more from?
- Who do you naturally gravitate toward to engage and advocate for?
Scripture from Matthew 5:13-17:
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Creator God, may we recognize the light that lives within us and amplify the light within others. Let us utilize it to uplift and intersect advocacy into our work, daily. Just as you are light, remind us that your light shines on truth and breaks through to unearth darkness. Nothing remains hidden. May we grow from the moments where light feels too blinding, and darkness feels all consuming. Keep our eyes open to how we can learn from both. May we value our own stories of light and darkness, while holding space to hear and heal from the stories of others.
Rev. Brittany Graves is associate coordinator, Public Witness & Advocacy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies. She welcomes your input at [email protected] and engagement on Instagram @ambitiouslyBrittany.
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