The Biblical Covenant communities placed an emphasis on the significance of naming. That theology continues today. We name people, pets and inanimate objects or events.
When the Biblical circumstances changed so could a person's name. Abram and Sari's names became Abraham and Sarah, Jacob became known as Israel, Simon became Peter.
We went from "normal," human experiences to the covid-19 pandemic at lightning speed. Our political leaders named the horrific circumstance as a "War." Our weapons were issued by the CDC, including taking our temperature before leaving the house, washing our hands, wearing masks in public, social distancing, small gatherings of 10 or fewer and staying at home. The scientists told us we were winning by using all our weapons. But some started going AWOL and others deserted, and today, as predicted, there is no end in sight. Thousands more people will die or be disabled and families torn apart.
Another pandemic is also here and potentially as dangerous to our physical, mental, moral and spiritual heath. It is racism, along with all the associated "isms" that tag along: vicious name-calling, bullying, mocking and the lack of respect for the dignity of every human being. None of these is what Jesus commanded us to do! We must love ALL our neighbors as ourselves. We are all in both traumatic upheavals together.
For me, every time we sing the national anthem, we are being asked a question -- Oh say can you see? What is it we can see today in our beloved country that is under attack by two pandemics? What do we hear? How have we vowed to join one another in the fray? No spectators.
June 11 was the anniversary of the second largest mass murders. It was the number one until the massacre in Las Vegas. The bloodshed at the Pulse Night club stimulated Eli Lieh and Brandon Skie to write and perform the song "Pulse: Feel my pulse with your hand on my heart; you know it beats just as hard as yours. WE are both human."
We all can seek a civil dialogue and assertive action and financial resources in "curing racism." With God's help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the unattainable will be obtained along with a new day-to-day reality. The sequel to the Civil Rights Movement has been firmly placed in our laps!
My new email is [email protected]
-- Ken Parks is the former rector of St. Theodore's Episcopal Church in Bella Vista. He can be reached by email to [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.