Humanity in a time of war

In October, the horrors of war broke out anew in our world and many of us watched in horror as lives, so carefully crafted, were decimated in a matter of moments. Once again we are reminded of the ways that human beings, perceptive in so many ways, can become disconnected from the idea of one another’s humanity. As film clip after film clip showed body after body pulled from the ruins or rubble, recorded once again the wails of parents as they clutched the limp bodies of their children, I know that I could become disconnected as well—from my own beliefs in the sanctity of the human family. Other news continues to reinforce this, including the endless efforts to bring democracy back on-line in Congress. 

And yet we continued to come together to celebrate lives, to honor new connections, to do our best to continue the growth of a community where we do strive to honor the gifts of all. These gifts, life experiences and perspectives are NOT the same—and still we strive to embrace them with equity and curiosity. 

This month as wars rage, maybe some of us can take the opportunity to just listen to someone whose life. loved ones or identity is directly affected by the events of these days. Or to listen with care to someone with whom we differ. Maybe we can try to see those whose existence makes us uncomfortable. Maybe we can learn a new skill in our humanity-embracing toolbox (yes, some spaces remain in the Mental Health First Aid training we are doing with First Christian Church in Concord, our Disciples of Christ sister congregation.) Maybe we can begin to imagine how our campus might be a place of shelter for some of the vast number of people approaching the new year without housing. Perhaps we can remember our neighbors and grab some extra staples for the Food Bank barrel (did you know the lack of contributions has removed us from the priority pick up list—let’s get back on the ‘honor” list!) Maybe for every person we “unfriend” on social media we can make one call to the White House or to our other elected representatives to demand they target extremism and not certain populations.

As the last months of 2023 are before us, abstract notions of equity are probably not as needed as real, flawed, imperfect practice at observing the humanity of those around us. We are given dozens of opportunities each week to do this: let’s take some of them. 

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