Wednesday of the First Week of Advent (Rom 10:9-18; Matt 4:18-22)
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
Today’s lectionary readings emphasize the need for Christ’s disciples to respond to his invitation and to speak the good news of God’s reign. Paul’s letter to the Romans calls for Christian witness to the gospel when he asks,
How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
The good news of God’s reign calls us to community, inclusion, peace, justice, and love, extending especially to those whose humanity has been denied by this world. But the good news can be muffled by fear and silence. Earlier this month, the University of St. Thomas experienced a very visible expression of racism – a word scrawled in the middle of the night on a campus walkway. This was traumatic in many ways – it provoked feelings of alienation, isolation, rage and fear in community members of color, and it was a painful reminder to white community members of the ugliness that blights our identity.
The campus rallied with a vocal show of support for community members who have been targeted, but a single rally does not completely lift the heavy blanket of silence around our racial issues. Racism impacts every one of us, because are all dehumanized by the dehumanization of one another. We must daily commit to announcing in word and deed Christ’s beloved community, the reign of God. We must rouse ourselves from the silence of indifference or despair, listen to God’s word as heard in the voices of people of color, and amplify these voices.
Cara Anthony, Associate Professor, Theology