“It seems easy to pray for unity, but scripture and experience tell us we need God’s help to seek a unity that is holy and not idolatrous. The unity we desire doesn’t erase those on the margins or those who are different but instead holds every member as essential, like we strive for in the church.”The Rev. Colin Mathewson, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Diego, November 8, 2020
In the final days of election season, the Public Religion Research Institute released polling data showing that 84% of Americans agreed that religious leaders should help spread peace in the wake of a tense and divisive campaign.
I am all for peace, and I long for the unity and civility that the president-elect has championed since his election. But the unity I hope for is unity paired with justice. Not unity that papers over the harm that has been inflicted on so many Americans, but unity that recognizes the divine image imprinted on each person and seeks healing for those who have been mistreated.
Those of us who go through the world with a high degree of privilege are often quick to call for unity and civility without acknowledging the need for reparations. We long for the comfort and contentment we have been accustomed to but may not recognize how systems and institutions that serve us so well are doing harm to our neighbors. We cannot have unity without repairing the harm that has been done. “No justice, no peace.”
As we pray fervently for unity, let us also work to heal the wounds and undo the harm that has been done. Let us pursue unity, but with justice.