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Loving the Arc

UUs holding Black Lives Matter banner witness for racial justice in Denver, CO, January 2015.

God who is with us in the courtrooms, at the border, in the streets, in the struggle,

We do not know if this arc bends toward justice. The great test of our Unitarian Universalist faith is not whether we believe we can bend the arc, but how we are when the bending looks oh so differently from what we expected:

When we're met with swear words when we expected songs.
When we're met with a group of white people talking about white identity when we expected multiracial community.
When we're met with a people of color space when we expected multiracial community.
May we know the sacredness of people of color space, the holiness of white people supporting each other and the power of cursing at injustice.
When our efforts feel frustrating and hopeless, when we expected to see outcomes.
When our people’s bodies are dying in the streets and we have no idea how to be alright.
When our people’s spirits are dying from the grinding violence of white supremacy.
When the era of Ferguson becomes the era of Baltimore becomes the era of Charleston and we don’t know what is next.
When we’ve been in this work for 6 years or 6 decades and we look around at our congregation, our local police, our schools, our prisons and we have no idea what justice could look like.

Our faith teaches us two truths: That we are always enough; that the great circle of love casts no one out. And that we are responsible for bending our small piece of the arc, for finding our own racial justice front lines. When we find our front lines, we find not only our hope, but we also find our most effective action.

UU writer and theologian Kenny Wiley says in his Unitarian Universalist Black Lives Matter theology:

“Right now we are
being called—by our ancestors, by our principles, by young black activists across the country—to promote and affirm:
You are young and
black, and your life matters just the same.
You stole something,
and your life matters just the same.
I have been taught
to fear you, and your life matters just the same.
The police are releasing
your criminal record, and your life matters just the same.
They are calling
you a thug, and your life matters just the same.”

There are no exceptions. Black lives matter is universalism in practice. May it be so.

About the Author

Elizabeth Nguyen

Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen roots for the Wisconsin Badgers, lives in Boston, and is is learning all the time about courage, singing, cowardice and prayer. She is a queer Vietnamese-American and proud Midwesterner....

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