By Tony DeSantis
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.”
O God, who made all of us unique, help us to see each other’s uniqueness as a blessing to be shared with all of us. Help us to see that we are part of one community – the human race – and not part of a privileged sect. Help us to see that we have as much to learn from others as they have to learn from us.
When God saw the Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf in the desert after they were freed from the slavery of Egypt, God realized that they were not yet ready to be the chosen people. So, God kept them in the desert for 40 years, a people of the wilderness preparing to step into the Promised Land. We Christians are also a people in the wilderness, on a journey. We must spend time in the desert, forgetting the ways of privilege and learning the ways of equality. Lent is a metaphor for those forty years, and Easter is the celebration of the Promised Land.
We are still are on the journey. We still worship, if only in subtle or subconscious ways, at the altar of white privilege. It is frightening to learn to rely on God, and not on the largesse of our earthly masters.
Lent is a time each year to focus on leaving behind the slavery of Egypt and adapting the ways of the wilderness. Shaking off the bonds of privilege is our wilderness journey. The resurrection of Jesus is our promise of resurrection from our worship of privilege. As Ezekiel stated we have been given a new heart and new spirit as we enter into this promise.
We must rely on each other, and on God as an oases in the desert, as we march to reach the real Promised Land. In this country, this promise was envisioned in the Declaration of Independence, that it is self-evident that all persons are created equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was also envisioned by Paul in Galatians, that there is no Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. We see the promise, now we need to make it happen.
Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!
Questions for Discussion:
1. How can we celebrate the progress we have made, while acknowledging what still needs to be done?
The call for almsgiving during Lent needs to be our call during the entire year. Please continue to support the programs and organizations that work for ending the scourge of racism in all its forms.
Tony DeSantis is a member of the CTA Anti-Racism Team, and a member of the Vision Council. He is also the president of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers and is a prison minister, lector and coordinator of Saturday afternoon Dinners (Joe’s Place) at Sacred Heart Church in Camden, New Jersey.