Faith Matters: We are coming into an era of spiritual awakening
From the book of Romans 13:8, it reads, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” We are witnessing challenging times across this country and around the world. The treatment of people of color is different than others. We have witnessed a 17-year-old carry a weapon into a demonstration, wounding one person and killing two others and was able to drive home to Illinois. There are two systems of justice operating.
Where is the boldness in our collective outrage for wrongdoing regardless of the source? Where is our collective sense of a type of justice that can be equally dispensed? Where is the individual awareness that the law set forth by God is more powerful than that prescribed by humans?
There is a spiritual awakening taking place. Answers to many of the questions above are coming from our youth. Even though some of the violence is originating with young ones, so are the solutions. We are witnessing an era where new voices and new courage is stepping forward to change the tide. There is clearly a new awakening.
It seems that another black man is being murdered almost daily. The formula is the same where one can see the pattern. It is usually an unarmed black man being subdued or restrained and subsequently being shot by an officer. This is by no means intended to point fingers at officers, it is intended to more directly point to the narratives that have been driving us all down the wrong paths for far too long. We have all been subjected to narratives that when operationalized, victimizes us all in one way or another.
At the same time, we are coming into an era of a spiritual awakening. First there must be an acknowledgment that in many ways we have all be asleep or simply not paying attention to our collective complicity. There is an awakening taking place where the resistors are fighting back harder and the allies are standing bolder. What is very interesting in all of this is that the rhetoric stoking the flames of hate is becoming more clear for what it is. It is becoming easier to see where different paths of dialogue will lead to different outcomes and results.
We are coming into an era of spiritual awakening. There is new leadership emerging with new messages of hope that do not sound like messages we have heard for many years. In some cases, it requires a bit of assistance to appreciate and embrace the level of hope that comes through in many of the messages. We are learning to see multiracial and generational and gender collaborations where that was not the case in the past. This is part of the new spiritual awakening.
These are truly challenging times and at the same time, one has to ask under what better conditions to demonstrate and elevate the beliefs in persons of faith? What better environment could there be for the unfoldment of a new consciousness? We have to realize that it was our old thinking that has gotten us here and it will take something new to move this culture into the future. There is a new level of awareness presenting itself which can not be denied.
This has to be a time of a spiritual awakening. We have nowhere to go but up. Putting all of the challenges of this year on the table, we are left with the opportunity to search out that which gives us hope. If we simply wallow in the presenting problems we will most certainly become overwhelmed with by the challenges before us.
Regardless of your faith tradition, go to the source of your faith. If you have no faith tradition, consider the source of your power or what might empower you and gives you hope. And for those who appreciate words from the Bible, consider the words that started this essay with words about the law. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. This is the law that is calling upon everyone to abide by this law and that is what it truly means to experience your spiritual awakening.
The Rev. Dr. Leon Bailey is pastor of The Church of Bethlehem in Milford.