A Time for Sustained Commitment

Rev. Dr. DeWayne L. Davis

This Week at Plymouth, February 16, 2024

Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.

—bell hooks

As a teenager, I enjoyed popular teen romantic comedies like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful. These films always featured a romantic connection between a low-income, often unknown or unpopular kid and a wealthy, quite popular kid. While the romance starts beautifully, and each falls more deeply in love, the rich kid would inevitably have to confront that their love for the other will be viewed as a betrayal of their social standing. If they want to be with the one they truly love, they must let go of the security of being a part of the in-crowd and having status. They, of course, do not have to give up their riches; they have to give up an identity that assumes there can be no relationship with someone of a lower socio-economic status. I was always comforted when the lovers committed to staying together or finding true love from an unexpected one who had been there all along. They may not have the security of their respective communities anymore, but they come together across their differences to build relationships.

As we enter into another U.S. presidential campaign year, I’ve been thinking about what solidarity and allyship with the most vulnerable among us will look like as attacks on our democracy become more frequent and radicalized citizens indulge their worst instincts of hate and violence. When a candidate for the highest office in the land refers to migrants and immigrants as “disease-ridden terrorists and psychiatric patients poisoning the blood of our country,” we’ve been put on notice that many of the communities with whom we seek to be in a relationship will be targeted and attacked. Will we stay committed to those on the margins? We are entering a time that calls for a sustained commitment to justice and a beloved community.

Unfortunately, we have seen many segments of the Christian family of denominations seeking to gain political and economic power ostensibly to usher in the reign of God. We have seen religious leaders accepting the world’s definition of greatness through wealth and power. Some followers of the way have embraced the world’s drive for power and have joined the forces of illiberalism and authoritarianism to secure their status. And yet, the best of the Christian tradition is found in Jesus’ pronouncement of blessings on the meek and the merciful, the peacemakers and the pure in heart, the meek and the poor in spirit, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Our power comes not from what we find in the world’s treasures but from our call to be salt of the earth and light of the world. Now is the time for a sustained commitment to God’s reign of love, solidarity, and beloved community. Amen.