Pages Navigation Menu

Insights: Beloved Community

by Rev. Dr. Marjorie Matty
Beloved Community, our theme for May, is what I believe that Rumi, the Sufi poet, had in mind when he called all of humankind into relationship with, “Come, come, whoever you are.” The ideal for beloved community that we are all welcome has been sought for millennia, certainly within the earliest Christian communities, way before the use of the “beloved community” phrase was coined at the beginning of the 20th Century by the philosopher-theologian, Josiah Royce.

I yearn for the beloved community of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have been struggling with the saber rattling that has occurred on the political stage over this last year. The threat of “pushing the button” and whose button is bigger than another’s … I would just disregard it as pure idiocy but these dangerous boys with these toys literally have buttons to push and are unstable enough to use them. That is why this week I watched with hope in my heart as the leaders of North and South Korea stepped across a boundary that has existed for over 6 decades to discuss peace and unification. I wondered if it is possible that old disputes and suspicion of one another could resolve the conflicts that divides them? In the same right I wondered, skeptically, what the real endgame is for Korean politics and how it will affect global politics. I am skeptically hopeful.

My hope is that maybe this example of small steps made across literal boundaries is real and that it could inspire us all, to face the ancient disputes that exist in this world, helping us to move towards a kinder and gentler way of being? Then I think of all of the resources that so many folks around this world are desperate to get their greedy hands on, like oil, or the missile defense systems that North Korea would love to disassemble and I pause… I am not naive… I just want to choose to be a hopeful Unitarian Universalist – with a healthy dose of skepticism and maybe some distrust thrown in for good measure.

Friends, I call us to be founding members of the beloved community because it is not just a nice notion, it is an imperative. If we are not all in, and only we can know this in our heart, I invite us to each get all in; because if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem. As a religious/spiritual community at the dawning of the twenty-first century we face, in many ways, a reality that is devoid of ethical underpinnings. It has become commonplace in our society to lie, to cheat, to steal, to oppress and take advantage of one another. Let me say that none of this is ok nor should it be tolerated. We have free will in this human condition, we may not face hell, but there is evil and there certainly is sin in this world and believe me when I say that there needs to be repercussions at all levels for wrong doing.

What I now realize is that the cure for what ails our world will not be found in politics, it will not be sorted out and patented by for profit corporations in a system based on greed. The cure will come from communities just like ours who band together with ethical intentions to watchdog and heal the world’s ills. My friends, we truly need one another, to be part of this beloved community, and we truly need one another to understand, to commiserate and to carry on because we are and need to be all in this together.