I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true, who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.
The story of the Great Commandment--to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself--appears in all three of the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). And this commandment is rooted in the Shema, the commandment from the Book of Deuteronomy that obedient Jews recite twice a day--Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one: And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. It is by far one of the most beautiful commandments that we have because it calls us to love God with all our being, and to love each other and ourselves. In all that we do, in all that we are, our love is to be directed outwards. It calls us to love even in the midst of challenge and sorrow.
Since returning from diocesan convention, I’ve been thinking about this commandment and our Baptismal Covenant’s call to respect the dignity of every human being. At diocesan convention, the focus on our work together was on the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. You may be asking yourself, “what’s that”. The Doctrine of Discovery has its roots in a papal decree (or bull) issued in 1452 that “specifically sanctioned and promoted the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian territories and peoples” (http://www.uua.org/multiculturalism/dod/). Our guest speakers at the convention talked about how this doctrine has been imbedded into our laws to not only violate treaties that have been developed with Native peoples, but also to take away their land, mineral and water rights