Today in the life of the Cathedral we observe the commemoration of the Rev’d Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.(transferred), the preeminent figure of the twentieth century in the fight for justice and equal rights. His voice called not just for our attention, but for our action. He called us to speak up and to stand up.
The vile disparaging remarks made this week by the 45th President of our nation about other nations cannot go without redress. There are, no doubt, countries led by despotic regimes. There are countries ravaged by natural disasters and the lack of natural resources. We must also remember that there are countries, these and others, which were rich in resources until this nation and our colonial forbearers plundered and enslaved them. Because of these factors and others, they may lack economic stability and standing. They may lack political power and prestige, but as nations of peoples, they all possess intrinsic dignity.
Almost twelve years ago I was afforded the humbling responsibility and the profound honor to become the Dean of this Cathedral: God’s cathedral, your cathedral. During this time I have told many of the great wonder afforded me each time the community gathers in worship, because almost every time, those gathered have direct roots in every inhabited continent of the globe. You have shared with me, taught me, about the breadth and depth and uniqueness of cultures and countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Guinea, North and South Sudan, Ghana and more. You have cared enough to tell me of the islands of which many of this community are native.
Of course it does not stop there. You have shared your cultures, stories, traditions, and love, rooted and grounded in countries of the Pacific Rim, Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and more. The greater metropolitan area has afforded me gracious conversations and profound moments that connect me to lives, loves, origins, and traditions, religious and otherwise, in the Middle East and beyond. To all of you, I can say without reservation or hesitation that you have gifted me, and my family, with a richer life and a richer experience of the wonder of God.
You know where I am going: you’ve known since I started. Nothing about the disparaging remarks from the President about other countries is acceptable. If the President wants to castigate and insult a country, look at our history of the treatment of native peoples, enslavement, and our usurping of resources in foreign lands. I recall something about letting the one without sin cast the first stone. Apology, contrition, and repentance are now what I look for from him. While I wait, I know that you and I will renew our resolve to respect the dignity of every human being, actively seek justice for all people, and honor the heritages that form us all.
Grace and peace,