I have been thinking a great deal about the word “honor” these days, in part, because there seems to be precious little of it. These past few weeks especially seem to be filled with much dishonor:
- Any high school student can tell you that honoring the rules of debate allows for clear and concise ways to keep focused on one’s argument rather than attacking one’s opponent. Unfortunately, there was much dishonor exhibited during last week’s presidential debate.
- The recent shooting of a black man underscores the fact that a black man dies every 28 hours by a police shooting. Systemic racism continues to dishonor the lives of people of color in the United States.
- More than 300 Native American tribes along with activists from across the country continue to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, which crosses tribal land and threatens the drinking water of people throughout the region. This pipeline dishonors native peoples as well as the earth.
In Romans 12:10 are written these words:
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
As disciples of Jesus, you and I can impact the world by making this commitment to love. When we commit to love, we treat one another differently. We honor newcomers into our sanctuaries by treating them as welcomed guests. We honor the oppressed by working for justice. We honor the earth by protecting the environment through the choices we make as individuals and a society.
In these days when honor has fallen out of fashion, let us wear love boldly. But be warned: the love Jesus expects of us is demanding and costly. It means we cross into new territories as we open ourselves up to lives and experiences that are far different from our own. It requires us to get out of our comfort zone as we stand in solidarity with the oppressed. It calls us to cry out against injustice and seek relationships of healing and reconciliation.
My sisters and brothers, may we be devoted to one another in love. In this way, may we honor each other and the earth, in the name of Christ.
Bishop Karen Oliveto