While there are some in every religious community who seek to erect barriers — or use violence — against things they don’t understand or fear, there are those who are willing to reach out in humility and hope to discover God’s truth revealed in those who are different. They are willing to acknowledge that our particular understanding of God is limited and that God’s love extends to all of creation. The future belongs to them, not to the violent or the vengeful.
In the midst of a violent world, bonds of human solidarity are being formed among people from many different backgrounds who run toward the chaos to serve those in need. Though the future is undetermined, I believe that tomorrow’s historians will look at the traumatic violence of our era and see the birth pangs of a new humanity that crosses the lines of ethnicity, language, location, and religious tradition. We all have a role to play in bringing that new humanity into existence, in serving as its midwives.
The journey of healing is a marathon, not a sprint. But it was well-started by that first responder to run toward the chaos. It continues every time we take the risk of reaching out across the lines that divide the human family, reaching out to those in need.
The Rev. Christopher Ney is pastor of Central Congregational Church in Newburyport.