Loving our neighbors as ourselves: June 24th Update from Bishop Duncan-Probe
Each week, Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe is offering a video message to update you on how the Diocese of Central New York is ministering in the midst of multiple crises. This week, Bishop DeDe urges us to follow Gospel values–especially loving our neighbors as ourselves–when we face confusion and even conflict.
Each of the bishop’s weekly messages will be posted on the diocesan Facebook page and on the homepage of the diocesan website (scroll down to News & Updates). We will also distribute the message by direct email to clergy, wardens, and parish offices, and include it in the Messenger, our weekly email newsletter.
Greetings, friends. I hope that this day you are finding moments of joy and peace. I know that this is a very difficult time and it’s confusing. We’re hearing different things from this side or that side of an argument and we wonder: what is the right course of action?
None of us really enjoy wearing a mask, and yet we know we need to do it. Not just for ourselves, but for other people. This week I was asked by someone why I was so afraid that I needed to wear a mask. And I replied, “I’m not afraid for me. I’m caring for my neighbor. I’m respecting you by wearing my mask.”
It is important in this time for us to live our Gospel values of loving our neighbors as ourselves. In the Diocese, we are in Step 2, but that may not mean that going to church or “Gathering Anew” is the best thing for you or your neighbors. In conversation with your clergy and your vestry, all of us are making the choices we need to make for the care of one another.
This is not a time to give way to arguments or to allow our anxiety to drive us to discord. Rather, as people of the Gospel, to recognize that wearing our masks is a sign of respect, not control. That loving our neighbor means doing things differently. And we do not yet know enough about the coronavirus to take it lightly. It isn’t just about dying. It isn’t just about percentages. It is about the long-term health and well-being of one another.
So I encourage you and really urge you to remember those Gospel values of loving our neighbors as ourselves, seeking forgiveness and restoration, and living lives worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That each of us seek to be the person God has called us to be, especially in this difficult and challenging time.
Blessings of God be with you.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York