Since last fall’s #blacklivesmatter protests in New York City, I have become more and more aware of the privilege our culture affords me as a white man. I have come to understand that I cannot speak on behalf of persons of color, as if I know best what others need or want. I have not walked in their shoes nor do I understand the challenges or hurdles many face on a daily basis – from subtle, demoralizing micro-aggressions to unwarranted scrutiny to police brutality like we saw at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina this week.
But I can support and help amplify voices of color that are speaking their truth. I can name and confront racism whenever and wherever I see it. I can advocate, work for systemic change, and seek justice and equality for all, especially black lives. It is not enough to simply pray for a better world but I am called to be God’s hands and feet. My faith requires me to leverage my privilege for the wider good. And God also calls me to encourage and inspire other privileged folk to action, especially in the church.
I’ve was blessed to collaborate with Rev. Kaji Douša, the pastor of the United Church of Christ of La Mesa, during six weeks of interim/transitional ministry in San Diego. As we planned worship, I was excited that she decided to preach on the challenging topic of privilege, using Queen Esther as an example. But, as sometimes happens in worship planning, I struggled to find the ‘right’ piece of music for the service. Not content with the limited choices available, I decided to write something.
Inspired by Jesus’ words in Luke 12:48, ‘To Whom Much Is Given, Much is Required’ is a Gospel-style anthem that calls all of us, especially folks of privilege, to put their faith to action. The UCCLM choir sang it last Sunday and it was a highlight of the service – a rousing response to a powerful, prophetic sermon. I invite you to read Pastor Kaji’s words and listen to the recording of the piece below. You can find a sample of the sheet music here and I invite you to contact me – lovedintobeing (at) gmail (dot) com – if you would like to sing it.
The #blacklivesmatter movement is far from over and we need songs to sustain us as we do the work! I hope this piece inspires many others to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.