“Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, . . .”Luke 16:26
There are many chasms in our lives – most of which we have created. In my opinion, the pandemic has opened even more chasms or made them more obvious. Unless those of us, who chose to follow Christ, begin to acknowledge the chasms and build bridges, we will forever be separated one from another.
Many of us have heard stories of families who do not speak to each other. In some cases, the situation has gone on for so long that they do not even remember what started the fight in the first place. Often times, the tragedy is that a member of one side of this chasm dies before there is any resolution. We also have chasms in our corporate life – chasms between rich and poor, between people of color and Caucasians, between one side of the tracks and the other side of the tracks. These chasms perpetuate from one generation to another because we actually build structures or institutions that make the chasm even wider.
Sunday morning at 11:00 am is considered the most segregated hour in the country. Black people worship in black churches. Latinx people worship in churches where their first language is spoken. People with hearing loss worship in churches where the service is translated into American Sign Language. How did this happen? In the beginning, it was because black people and white people were not allowed to be together – separate restrooms, separate drinking fountains, separate schools, separate churches. In other situations, churches were created to meet a specific need for a community. Churches are among the most homogenous institutions that we have built in America. This is not God’s plan. It is a human plan.
People don’t like to think about systemic racism, sexism, ableism or any of the
–isms. Instead, we continue to create institutions that keep us separate and help us to feel safe with “our own people”. We continue to name and point out someone or something that is different as the “other”. We live in dehumanizing times and it is literally killing us (witness the death of those recently shot in Atlanta).
God calls us to live as one body – each part having different gifts, but all necessary for the health and well-being of creation and the world. God invites us to stop deepening the chasms between us and instead pull together and build bridges. I am asking you to work with me to find a way to build more bridges and stop creating chasms that do nothing more than separate us from one another and from the full expression of God’s love.