Two weeks ago our campus community participated in the nationwide walkout honoring the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting.
This weekend some from our community joined in the nationwide March for Our Lives protesting against the lack of gun control.
And this week we anticipate the end of Lent with the celebration of Holy Week, reminding us that life and death are intertwined through the life of Jesus.
At the walkout, campus pastor Gwen Gustafson-Zook began by reading Deuteronomy 30:19, “I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life, that you and your children may live.”
Since then, I have been reflecting on what it means to choose life.
It seems as though there is a clear answer in some respects.
Say no to gun violence.
Say yes to gun control.
But I have to believe it is so much more complicated than that. I believe choosing life requires that we see the divinity within humanity. That we choose to discover in ourselves and in every human being a light.
A light that honors our own story—the process to which we got to where we are, the reasons behind why we believe what we believe and the people who we surround ourselves with.
I have been witness to this light.
I recently felt led to reach out to a few of my high school friends after I had actively chosen to put distance between us. After all, what do we have in common anymore?
These friends have represented everything I am against or don’t believe in anymore. So I blocked them out my life literally, because you can actually do that now in the world of social media we live in.
But it was in these reconnections that I saw the light in myself as I was forced to articulate my beliefs and the ways I have changed since high school to my friends. And I saw the light in my friends as they too named how they had changed.
This light is the kind of light that beckons growth. It is one thing to talk about what you believe in with people who agree with you; it is another to engage with those who do not.
As author Mary Beth Inghram said at a Center for Action and Contemplation conference years ago,
“When we become open and receptive to the ordinary, we discover:
The one is the way to the many.
The specific is the way to the spacious.
The now is the way to always.
The here is the way to the everywhere.
The material is the way to the spiritual.
The visible is the way to the invisible.”
May we as a community here at GC choose life by choosing the many and the spacious by choosing to see the light in ourselves and in every member of this community. May we honor whatever we consider the Divine indwelling presence in every created thing. May we choose life.