October 7

October 7
by Terry Abel

Community as a family

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  –Leviticus 19:18

Writing about racial tension is not easy, so it was wonderful rather recently, when I got a phone call from our very own Teesie Carmack, who told me she liked the pieces I had written.  Like me, Teesie had lived in Pennsylvania when she was younger, where she shared that tensions were so extreme that she wasn’t allowed to swim in a pool with black children (due to community prejudice), even though her parents were not prejudiced at all.  Perhaps this lack of “Love Thy Neighbor” contributed to their family moving to Hawaii, not long after.  

Teesie’s story had a good ending – as a child, after she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, she experienced years of peace with people of many different nationalities.  It would be wonderful if the entire world could be as peaceful as Honolulu was for Teesie.

It sometimes is challenging to get along with people of backgrounds and customs that are different from ours.  I think the first step is to get along with our families, even with those members that perhaps rub us the wrong way, or have hurt us in the past.  Extending grace (forgiving them even though they may not deserve it) may be the first step.   Once we have managed to get along with our families, I think we may have a chance at getting along with those with different backgrounds, beliefs or customs, and then perhaps we may just have a shot at world peace and   living in harmony with one another as Teesie did. If we think of our community as our “extended family,” perhaps it would be a good start.  As Barack Obama once said, “Just because something is hard is no reason not to try.”

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the members of our church family, and especially the special ones, like Teesie, who although now living with just one leg, doesn’t feel sorry for herself and continues to strengthen and cheer others, and share stories about people of many different races getting along, and the world being more the way you would like it to be, for as it says in Acts 17:28,  we are all your offspring. In your Son, our precious Prince of Peace’s name we pray. Amen.                                                                                                                             


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