The tragedy of September 11, 2001 underscores the culture of violence that haunts humanity. The shadow side of our desire for community is tribalism— a fear of others in order to protect our own. Since that horrible day 18 years ago, the specter of violence and fear of the other has not abated.
Yet God's dream for the human community understands our "tribe" to be the whole human family. Difference shouldn't be feared, but celebrated. That's why the beauty of God's good creation exists in its amazing multi-hued diversity. The image of God in humanity isn't found in our sameness but in the beautiful plurality of cultures and peoples around the globe.
That's why at St. John's, as we begin the new program year, we start out by celebrating the diverse cultures that make up our cathedral congregation and our life in Southern California. This Sunday we celebrate the community of people who have come here from Belize. We will have drumming and dancing and the Gospel read in Garifuna, a language of Belize. Then as we go through the year we celebrate Latino culture around the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, then Black History month in January. We'll join with our diocese in celebration of Asian and Pacific Island culture in May, and then the LGBTQ+ community in June. All of these celebrations make a statement that difference and diversity reflect the beautiful diversity of creation and our creator.
We stand against the dark force that tempts us to fear one another and silo ourselves into tribes. We embrace the beauty of difference and the unity of our common human family all reflecting the image of God. In this time let us remember the challenging words of our book of Common Prayer:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.