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Stand up!

by Juan M.C. Oliver

 

My people, –who are also your people, our people, the people of God, are being hunted down and killed in the “land of the free.”

 

Our bishops and other leaders have made heart-wrenched statements, following deep soul searching and all manner of drafts, making it clear that we will not stand for this. I am truly grateful for their concern and bravery.  We will not stand.

 

Instead, should we sit,head in our hands, rehearsing a concerned and compassionate shampoo, and hope for the best?  It is no longer enough. Not any more.

 

I encourage Hispanic/Latino episcopalians and our hundreds of thousands of friends to get up at the end of next Sunday’s service, and ask the congregation:

 

“My people –who are also your people, our people, the people of God, are being hunted down and killed; what are we going to do about this as a congregation?”

 

As a Church, we are rightly proud of wonderful leadership, –talented people of integrity and ability, both ordained and lay. Our bishops lead dozens of congregations each, among whom there are two million people of conscience. In every congregation there are capable and committed leaders. Lead. Especially you deacons: Find out the local structures that support this evil –either actively or passively: Structures, not merely individuals; think big.

 

Then lead us out from worship to do the other liturgy: work for the common good. Protest, interrupt, visit government officials, go on strike, yell and scream, but refuse to budge on our commitment to respect the dignity of every human being. No more talk. No more statements, please.  It is time for people of conscience to take concerted action at every level.

 

As beggars say in Spanish, Dios se lo pague. May God reward you.

 

 


 

The Rev. Dr. Juan M.C. Oliver, PhD is the Custodian of the Book of Common Prayer, and particularly interested in the intersection of worship, cultures and justice.  He lives in New Mexico.

 

image: People hold up their phones during a prayer and candle vigil after a shooting left 20 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, on August 4, 2019.  Photographer: MARK RALSTON/AFP

 

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