In today’s worship service I shared a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: What is needed is the realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands again love.
Unitarian Universalists have boldly declared that we stand (and roll, dance, sing, and pray) on the side of love. We also build relationships and partnerships so that we don’t stand alone. Justice is not ours to do alone … we would be but clanging symbols if we did not expand our circles of influence to work in harmony with people in other faith traditions, local organizations, and world wide partners. We cannot be powerful in effecting change if we don’t also build bridges of relationship with the love we have to offer.
Unitarian Universalists have been showing up for justice in many ways throughout our history. This past week’s PBS special “Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War” was a timely and poignant example. The Sharps boldly answered the call to serve where others feared to go. Had it not been for their sense of love and justice, and the networks of support they discovered and developed, many more lives would have been lost during the Holocaust. What might we be called to do in the name of love and justice as righteous rebellion against racism, tyranny, and oppression rises here and abroad?
This afternoon houses of worship across all faith traditions, including many Unitarian Universalists, civic organizations and music venues around the country hosted performances for the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Many host organizations received threats this week for stepping up to host this event.* Standing up for what we value and what we believe to be a path to justice can be risky; thankfully we have built bridges with others who share our commitment to withstand the winds that threaten to discourage us.
Every Monday I participate in a national interfaith, interracial video conference called “On Call For the Movement.” Most of the participants are clergy or people working for community organizing groups. This is an offshoot of the Moral Monday Movement. (See www.wesayenough.org.) Every call is inspirational, educational, and motivational. I hear about events happening around the country to bring people together for the cause of racial justice and I feel the call to action. I show up where and when I can, I share information with others who are able to show up when I can’t. I have faith that momentum will build and more and more people in Gwinnett County, where I live, will rise up for justice. I expect I am not alone in wondering: If and when the call comes to take a greater risks for the love of justice, will I have the power, and courage, to implement the demands of justice? I expect so … because I know I won’t be alone.
Rev. Jan Taddeo