This week we look at our fifth Baptismal Covenant commitment which is "to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being." Even outside of the Gospel challenge, this commitment is recognized as the foundation of liberal democracy. Without equal justice there is no "of, by, and for the people." This is why we "presume innocence" in our judicial system and why we give all people who've reached 18 years of age the right to vote.
But of course what we're committing to is not just the assumption that "all of this works somehow," but to actively engage with, that is, work for justice and peace for the sake of all. Our actions matter and we choose to act. We are called to treat people with diametrically opposed views to ours with the same respect that we treat those with whom we agree. This is difficult and only becomes possible as we admit our biases, our prejudices and our fears. I find, speaking personally, that I'm always needing to work at "seeing others" with the care their infinite worth deserves.
Thankfully, in the church we are reminded every week--as we share the bread and the wine--that Christ shows no preferential treatment; everyone is welcome at the table. If God respects the dignity of every human being, it is something we too can "grow into" with, as we say, God's help.
Bless you this week as you worship together. Special thanks to Mark Laidlaw and Zoe Urquhart for officiating our services and to the Rev. John Prociuk for sharing his homiletic insights. I'm at a conference and will be back Feb 5th.