By REV. ANNETTE JOSEPH
Rector, Holy Cross, Poplar Bluff
and St. Paul’s, Sikeston
One thing stuck out to me as the Presiding Bishop was preaching at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: What if all our life was ruled by love?
Imagine how our business practices would change. Imagine how our care for one another would change. Imagine how our political systems would change if we took love as our lead, what a change would it make!
I find it discouraging to listen to all the rhetoric – and labels – today: living wages, tariffs, “right-to-work” are issues not rooted in love at all. They just create a simple label to place on a platform where we align those who agree with us. We need to find maybe different ways to use the language that’s truly rooted in love!
How are wages affecting people’s very lives, where they live, what they can afford, how they can take care of themselves? What are tariffs doing to the way people live, how they eat, what they can afford? How does so called “right-to-work” affect these? Well, you get the drift.
As Paul says, “Love is one of the gifts of the Spirit.” It fosters in us empathy for others. Labels do not. We need new words for this fight. We need to find the rootedness in what will draw all to the way of love and consideration for one another.
WHAT DO THEIR/OUR WORDS MEAN?
In times ago there used to be a study of words called philology. It has long since been eliminated in college. I think we are missing something though, with it gone.
It was one of the tools used to fight the Third Reich from within. As you read the background of the words and how preachers used them against the Nazis, it brings a whole different meaning to that time and the Nazis’ legacy. People were in danger with their very lives at stake because of the Nazis’ words of “love” – weakness, vulnerability – all of the things that were not of value to their society at the time.
WE NEED MORE THAN LABELS
Today, we are not much different in that we are using too many simple labels.
What if we changed “fair wage” to a more meaningful phrase: “A fair wage that allows all to benefit from a hard day’s work?”
This is just one example, but I think it helps with understanding and brings a bit of love into the equation.
Hopefully we will find the ways forward, ways which will allow us to listen to one another, ways in which we can care for one another, and ways in which we strengthen the whole instead of just the part.
Keep thinking of ways to change our vision and ways to care for one another — with love.