You and I are called as peoples and followers of Jesus to do what Jesus told us, which is to love our neighbors. We don’t get to choose or select— or criticize even, really—who our neighbors are.
Watch above: a November message from the Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. She speaks about the hate-motivated shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the upcoming elections, our 150th Diocesan Convention, and what it means to stand with Jesus and love our neighbors as ourselves.
The following is the text of the bishop’s message:
Hello, Central New York! I hope you are well on this beautiful Fall day. I’m here at Clear Path for Veterans. What a gorgeous view of the valley below. This is a place where healing and community and restoration happen. A place where people come who have served our country, and together find hope and healing and grace. That is much like our call as Christians to come together in community. We have our Convention coming up in the next couple of weeks, and our theme this year is Beloved Community. What does it mean for us to be beloved community? It’s easy to talk about love, but much harder to do, especially in this time of elections when so much is pushing us apart. Where every commercial asks, who are you against? What do you oppose? Who do you hate?
That hatred and vitriol and division have spilled over into our synagogues and places of faith. Innocent people have been gunned down in their own house of worship. Our brothers and sisters who are God’s beloved children have been killed because of no other reason than hatred and ignorance.
You and I are called as peoples and followers of Jesus to do what Jesus told us, which is to love our neighbors. We don’t get to choose or select— or criticize even, really—who our neighbors are. And it is very tempting when so many around us are saying that our hope is in a political party, or a platform or agenda, to know instead that we know our help comes from, our help is in the name of the Lord. When we live with Jesus, and like Jesus, and for Jesus, we find the peace and hope and reconciliation, and more importantly, resurrection that Jesus offers.
It is not in whom we oppose that we will find peace, but rather, when we stand and remember who we are and better, whom we serve. So in this time as you prepare to gather at Convention, and for Thanksgiving, and at the polling place, let us remember the example of people like Clear Path for Veterans, who know the value of coming together with acceptance, and service and love for one another. And let us stand in opposition to hate, but more, stand for love and love our neighbors as ourselves. Blessings to you.