Every Sunday, the members of our church sing two important phrases. “This is the time we’ve been waiting for. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” With increasing frequency, I repeat these sentences to myself.
Nationally, we have an idea on which we all seem to agree — America faces challenging times. A national split seems to widen each day with no solutions in sight. We find divisions about climate changes, racial inequity, immigrants, Muslims, gays, women’s rights, taxes, and many more issues. As long as we remain divided, no one can truly enjoy the freedom for which this republic began.
How can this be the time we have been waiting for? Division feels terrible. I can’t speak for others, but during times of challenge, I experience my most significant reflection and growth. The challenges we now face call on us to be the best we can possibly be. Circumstances also prompt us to live up to the intentions of our founding fathers.
Our constitution begins, “We the people. . .” The words do not include we the people of a certain color, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. How might our nation look if we were to rise to the level of those opening words? According to Reverend Jim Rigby, “We seek a freedom that does not enslave others.” If I say, “I love you but I don’t want to pay you a living wage,” I clearly demonstrate hypocrisy. Likewise, can I claim love if I favor laws that make voting difficult for any group or individual? Am I a loving person if I live in fear of any religion or group that differs from my personal values?
Rigby suggests that if we live in captivity to our fears, we restrict the freedom of all of us. Additionally, putting money ahead of human values denies us our own liberty. The laws of the Old Testament and the laws of our own constitution exist to help us establish personal freedoms —freedoms, which must exist for everyone within the boundaries of this great country.
Apparently, these are the times we’ve been waiting for. These times require us to wake up and live out of compassion, move beyond our fears, and act with courage. Only with open hearts can we find the freedom we seek. No leader of any party can provide this for us. Nor can any religion or clergy provide us with healing. The freedom, as well as the safety we seek, abides within our own beings. This is the time and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Reverend Jim Rigby. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Austin, Texas, 2017. Ideas in this writing come from a sermon delivered by Jim Rigby on Sunday, May 28, 2017.