This week, I have been thinking again about the phrase: "Beloved is where we begin."
Beloved is where we begin as we walk through our sanctuary doors or as we sign on to Zoom or Facebook Live. It is where we begin as we delve into a challenging and contentious conversation about Open and Affirming (as we did with so much love, care and respect this last Sunday). Beloved is where we begin as we pause before a Board Meeting or a church work day.
But our belatedness begins before any of that. Beloved is where we begin when we awake in the morning. Whether we feel ready to spring out of bed and meet the new day or aren't quite sure what there is to drag us up. Beloved is where our children begin as they sit down to class or step out on the ball field or place their fingers on a piano or log onto their favorite video game. Beloved is where our elders begin as they embark on a new adventure, take their daily medications, receive care from a nurse or caregiver.
And beloved is where we all begin -- where we each begin. Beloved is the person at the bus stop outside our front door. Beloved is the mom who gets her kids ready for school in the car each morning because it is also their home. Beloved is the person who lives with addiction or depression or bipolar disorder. Beloved is the autistic child. The annoying neighbor. The grumpy teller at the grocery store. Beloved is the person whose bumper stickers rub you the wrong way or whose driving is plain old dangerous. Beloved are the students who gathered on Mondays to learn in our building over the last two years. Beloved is the faith community whom we do not know. Beloved is the U.S. marine soldier and the Taliban fighter. Beloved is the young person whose gender is not obvious and the old person with purple hair. Beloved is the bus driver, the police officer, and the protestor carrying a "Black Lives Matter" sign.
Beloved is where we begin. This Sunday we will hear Luke 6:27-36 in which Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and we hear Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's reflections on this instruction -- it's not easy. But still we are commanded to do it: to love our enemies. Because, after all, beloved is where we each begin.
With love to each of you,