Previous letters - 19th June 2020
I hope you are well. Once again, thank you for your responses to my last letter. The conversations mean a lot to me.
In John's Gospel chapter 13, we find the following statement in the mouth of Jesus:
'I give you a new commandment, that you love one another'.
That is probably the most ironic sentence in scripture. Obviously it's not a 'new' commandment. It's the oldest one of all. The problem is that people don't seem to be able to do it, so we have to keep being told.
Why is it so hard to love?
Why is it so hard to have a society in which everyone has equal rights and equal chances?
When I was a young child, there was a debate about whether women should get paid the same as men for doing the same job. There were fierce arguments on both sides, but the question shouldn't have been needed in the first place. Things like that should be obvious. So the Equal Pay Act came in in 1970. The conversation rumbles on with inequalities here and there, but that isn't what I want to write about here.
I want to write about Black Lives Matter. It's outrageous that we still need a campaign with such a title. Of course black lives matter. Some people respond by saying 'all lives matter'. That's also true, but it misses the point. The point is that the world is organised in such a way as to make black lives not matter as much as other lives. Therefore we can only redress the balance by stating ' Black Lives Matter'. As Churches and as individual Christians, it is our duty to be part of the campaign in whatever way we can. It's basic human rights. And it's basic to any philosophy which claims that people are made in the image of God.
Nelson Mandela said this:
' No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it's opposite.'
His words are yet another version of the so called 'new' commandment. How many more versions do we need before we can finally learn the most simple and most necessary message of all, namely that things like inequality, prejudice and violence will never make the world a better place. Only love can make the world fit to live in. Only love can make things fair and safe and allow people to flourish. So let's stand with those who need us and heed the commandment of Jesus to 'love one another'.
Stay safe and stay in touch.
Yours in Christ,