Community of Christ Enduring Principles Spotlight
Worth of All Persons
Stop! Go back up and re-read that “Worth of All Persons” stuff before you keep reading. Read ALL of it, please!
Do you ever feel personally challenged by “official” statements from Community of Christ? In response to most official statements I will often pause and recognize good thoughts or words or intentions. I may or may not recognize a role that I, personally, must take up in response to such statements. I have to confess that I do not often feel “personally challenged.”
For the last three weeks I have been highlighting the church’s Enduring Principles in the “header” of this column. This is week four. There are five more to come. As important as I believe all of our Enduring Principles are, this is the first one that has demanded my attention as I copied it onto this page.
“Worth of All Persons.” With these four words the church proclaims that, with Christ, we believe all persons are human, all persons are created in the image of God, and all persons are of inestimable worth in the sight of their God – and in OUR sight, and in MY sight! NONE of these phrases should be taken for granted. Not everyone in the world believes that all other men and women in the world are truly “human” in their worldview. Even if some people believe in a creating God, some people will reject that some “others” are actually creations of the same God that created them. And “inestimable worth”? It is but folly to consider that all humans have anything close to “equal,” let alone “inestimable,” worth to other humans of particular characteristics in the eyes and minds and opinions of way too many people in this world.
Jesus uplifted the poor, the prostitute, the woman caught in adultery, the tax collector, the woman at the well, and even “Samaritans” (just to name a few) as persons as worth, even though they were considered on the lowest rungs of society in his time.
Who do we have to uplift today? The last year has shed light on too many societal situations to mention in which the principle of “worth of all persons” is not only not recognized, but also essentially ignored and denied. For just a few examples consider: the continued abuse of persons who are Black, Indigenous, and persons of colour across North America; the dithering of local and provincial governments about how best to respond to the related issues of homelessness, mental health, and drug abuse in pretty much all communities across the country; and internationally consider situations where democracies and human rights are being trampled by governments (those in today’s news: Myanmar, Hong Kong).
The four bullet-points that follow the main statement each are challenging as well. The first two begin with “God views…” and “God wants…” Does that mean that we just leave those statements up to God? What role do we have in making those two statements reality in today’s society?
The last two, though, begin with “We seek…” and “We join with Jesus Christ…” Not to put too fine a point on it, but “We” means “you and I!” So – what are “you and I” going to do about “uphold(ing) and restore(ing) the worth of all people individually and in community, challenging unjust systems that diminish human worth?” What are “you and I” doing about “bringing good news to the poor, sick, captive, and oppressed?”
Are you bored yet? Or just intimidated? This is only the fifth of nine Enduring Principles. We are already way behind, my friends. What are “we” going to do about it?
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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