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Worthy of love?



I quite enjoy the writings of Thomas Merton and he makes you think. Merton was was an American Roman Catholic, Trappist monk. However, he was more than that, he wrote, was a theologian, a poet and a mystic writer, and social activist. He entered the monastery in 1941 at the Abbey of Gethsemany, Kentucky and died twenty seven years later in Thailand. He is, to this day, influencial to many in Christianity and beyond.

"Our job is to love
others without stopping
to enquire whether or
not they are worthy." Thomas Merton.

I think this saying of Thomas Merton is very true today. We are going through the terrible atrocities around the death of George Floyd in America. The unresolved stirrings between black and white people, the struggles between authority and supremacy, law and people.


I remember when I was in theological college we had to undertake a Race Awareness training weekend. It was led by three speakers all very angry and wearing a real chip on the shoulder to start with! There was a South American, an African Caribbean and a black British man from Birmingham. They wanted us to agree to the premise immediately that Racism was purely a white person's problem being power plus prejudice. The whole thing all but collapsed as we students would not agree to that. Racism is not just a white person's problem. Now this isn't to say what happened in America is acceptable or correct behaviour in any shape or form, far from it. Black lives do matter. But all lives matter, whatever the skin colour and we should not have to distinguish the importance of one over another.


The word "worthy" comes loaded. Who is judged worthy or not; do you have to achieve something to be viewed by the world as worthy of life itself? Surely none of us are worthy in that sense, but through Christ we are all acceptable before God and worthy of our love and the love of God in Christ for all.


This issue of treating people with black skins equally to people with white skins is seen everywhere and there is no quick fix. However, in part prejudice comes about because we do not know people well enough or their various cultures. We need to share in order to grow. We have to be honest throughout and cannot say one thing to one and something else to another.


I recall one tutor I had in theological college who had lived in Notting Hill. There he would not have a tv as many of the black community at the time could not afford tv and licence fees. Ok, I hear you say. However, when he moved to Bristol the first thing he did was to buy the biggest, all singing all dancing tv he could. Now surely, the point should still stand. I believe if we start on the issues around power and poverty, black and white, have and have not, we have to be thoroughly honest with ourselves and with others, whether black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor. If we are not honest, how can we say who is worthy and how can we share the love of Christ meaningfully? Christ came for all, not the select few, and with this in mind let us love.






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