The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector , St. Columba's
Episcopal Church
Washington, DC
Beloved, we live in a country that does not yet exist.

Historian, civil rights leader, and faithful Mennonite, perhaps best known for writing Dr. Martin Luther King's speech protesting the Vietnam War - "A Time to Break Silence," Professor Vincent Harding frequently began his public talks by asserting, "I live in a country that does not yet exist." Inspired and convicted by the biblical narrative that in Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, east nor west, male nor female (Galatians 3:28), Harding knew that the present hardship is a work in progress.

Then-Senator Obama affirmed this in his 2008 speech on race, citing the preamble of the United States Constitution, and affirming that our national project is not complete. We shall continue to strive toward "a more perfect union." For my own life, it is the biblical vision of the beloved community which I need to inhabit in these days. I need to take hold, embrace and embody that vision so that I can live from a place of love. I need to remember that in Christ God has reconciled all people to God's self, that in a manner not yet known God has already accomplished this greatest gift of love. How, then, will we live in a country that does not yet exist?

With so many others, I'm trying to make sense of recent events. I'm trying to see, interpret and respond in a way that coheres with my Christian faith. To that end, I've been trying on, if you will, an assortment of different lenses - much as we might experience getting our eyesight tested - as the doctor inquires "can you see more clearly through this lens? How about this one?"


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