BY THE REV. DAVID MERRITT |
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.- James 2:8-9
Most people I grew up with in my community looked very much like me. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that my worldview began to change. Schools were integrated, teachers changed and a chance encounter at Laurel Ridge brought a counselor from the Northern Province to camp.
This counselor was a person of color. He was not only very engaging, he allowed himself to be vulnerable. He laughed, he talked about faith and culture and he went the extra mile to help us campers to see a real person. Alan gave us a wonderful gift that summer. It wasn’t only his wit or wisdom, it was his humanity that changed our world view.
The recent events in our nation have shown that many in our neighborhoods did not fare well in both treatment options and outcomes. Racial disparities in our communities become very obvious when it comes to mortality statistics and lack of care options. The virus equally attacked all citizens. However, the economic and racial implications are real. Poverty and racial disparities paint a different picture of health care in our nation.
Although we are mostly a church as Moravians where members are of color, our current situation is a grim reminder of how different life can be for those who are poor, of different skin color, or cannot afford quality health care. Are those who do not look like me less significant to others or less precious to God? My answer is NO; God shows no partiality. In God’s love and care, we are all equal.
So Alan’s visit to Laurel Ridge was more than a moment in time, it was a shift in my thinking about people groups and culture. Education at Wingate, Guilford, and at Moravian Theological Seminary made me realize how different and how alike we all are in our expression of that Divine spark that lies deep within us all. It is my hope that even in the midst of this pandemic, we may see all of God’s children with a new vision of empathy and equality.
Like you, like me…
About the Author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grandkids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.