I am a 45 year old, middle class, anglo, christian man. I have not endured any overtly great struggle in my life that was caused by another. I am sheltered, somewhat naive, privileged in ways I do not even realize, and secure.
I do know men and women though whose families endured slavery, persecution, hatred, and disgrace because of the color of his or her skin. I have sat with them and listened to their stories of heartbreak and suffering and the residual affects that have followed. I have witnessed persecution and racism in my life, and have at times participated.
I also know men and women who serve the public as police men and women. I know them to be good and godly men and women who seek to serve every person that he or she come in contact. I know of one in particular that speaks of truth, love and grace to men and women he must arrest.
We all live in a broken and fractured world. Sin and the choice to serve ourselves has left us suspicious and even hateful towards one another. The only way that this can change in my opinion is to turn to a God who has offered salvation and restoration through himself. Jesus spoke often of sheep from other pastures. One follower of Christ declared that there were no longer any "favorites" in God's eyes, that God had looked beyond racial and even gender differences to see a people that He desired and loved and longed to be in relationship with.
Jesus is quoted as answering a question about what the greatest command by saying: "Love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul; the second is like the first, love your neighbor as yourself." I believe that we can solve many of our problems, our disagreements, our mistrust of one another if we were to apply these to our lives.
Therefore, I pledge this day to live a life that aims to first love God with all of my heart, mind and soul. That this love would determine my desires, my thoughts, and my dreams. I also pledge to love my neighbors (those that share the planet with me) as my self. If I see someone hungry I will offer food, If someone is cold I will offer them shelter, and if someone is hurting I will offer them healing.
May we begin to live lives of love and hope and faith, that God will be present when we live in this manner.