First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia ~ Welcome home!

On August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in broad daylight. Official autopsy reports indicate that Michael Brown was shot six times. On Monday November 24, prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that a Missouri grand jury decided that there was no probable cause for criminal charges against Officer Wilson. This announcement came only a few days after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio while playing with a toy gun, and Akai Gurley was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn as he was walking down a stairwell with his girlfriend. Both victims were also black. Neither one had confronted the police. Neither one was warned about the impending fatal shots.


I don't believe in original sin, in fact I believe the exact opposite. We are all born pure and good, perfect in the way that creation/creator formed us to be. We are born out of, and to continue, the forces of creation that drive existence. We are born with the capacity to know right from wrong, to choose love over hate. We are born with the innate ability to sense what is just and to detest what is evil. We begin not with flawed souls, but as perfect and beautiful beings with purpose and potential.


But we have all been born into a world that has been reshaped by those who have forgotten how they were created. We have all been born into a social order that does not live up to what it was meant to be. We have been born into a world that tricks us into thinking that wrong is right, that evil is just, that violence is peace, that hate is better than love. We have been born into a world that has been horrifically altered from its natural order, and now seeks to deny the purity and goodness of all. That seeks to tear us away from what is inherently our right and responsibility.


It is time to name and confront the lies at the foundation of this altered world order. We can no longer deny that the pain and suffering infiltrating our lives is not driven by forces of creation, but by forces of destruction. We can no longer let ourselves be tricked into believing that justice is the way of our current social systems and structures. The innocent lives that continue to be claimed without consequence prove that we are not there. But we can be. We were meant to be there, and we have the capacity to return. 


It is time for us to remember our purpose and potential. It is time to remember who we are, and remember what this world is meant to be. It is time for us to look into the depths of our being and reclaim what we know is right, what we know is good. It is time for us to remember who we are and stop acting like the people a corrupted world order has told us to be. It is time for us to hear the voices crying out from that place of innate knowledge and love, and to let them redirect us to where we were created to be. 


Unitarian abolitionist and womanist foremother Frances Ellen Watkins Harper once wrote “We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul.” Her words ring even truer today, as our society continues to find more subversive and deceitful ways to otherize and oppress. If we allow those forces to remain, our souls will remain cursed. But there is hope, and it is inherent to our very being. We did not come into this world with sin in our souls or hate in our hearts. But so long as we continue to let the world remain in its corrupted state, we let evil deny our true form. So long as we let violent lies take the place of truth, we will never return the world to its natural place of justice and peace. Let us find strength by remembering who we really are, and find courage in knowing that we can, and must, return this world to what it was meant to be.

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