The meditation topic for this, the 13th day of my Lenten practice, using Outstretched Wings of the Spirit is “perspective”:
“…Perspective enables us to see things somewhat in the whole. Having a supreme objective, we see different situations relative to this. We are not so panicky in the presence of certain aspects because we see them as connected to some greatly larger aspect [e.g. Beloved Community]…Perspective promotes balance…persons tend to arrive at a more original evaluation of things and processes. They do not so readily accept the current or formulated interpretations…”
This text was my morning devotional. But tending this reading was not the first thing I did after making coffee. Being a political junkie, I turned on the TV first to watch the Melissa Harris Perry Show. I heard Melissa announce next weekend’s show would be broadcast live from Selma on the 50th anniversary of what has come to be known as Bloody Sunday: the crossing of the Edmund Pettis bridge on March 7, 1965. I set a timer to record the upcoming broadcast.
I trust the MHP show to televise another way of seeing the events of five decades ago; to show viewers what remains to be done from the vantage point of a “greatly larger aspect,” what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr and today’s disciples know to be Beloved Community. I was nine years old in 1965. I came of age in the desegregating South. Looking back, and from my perspective, I’m glad lots of people will be in Selma next weekend and spend lots of money there. The locals sure could use it.
Another Way of Seeing offers another timely and hope-filled perspective from a seasoned activist also shaped by the southern freedom struggle of the 1960’s. Peter Gabel interprets the past 50 years in a way that is truly liberating for someone like myself who often grieves about today’s dangerously polarized world. He outlines how we have been socialized into fearing the other and seeing one another as threats rather than as the source of our completion. He makes a convincing case: we all yearn for a more genuine human culture of deep connection, interdependence, vulnerability and trust – what he calls “mutual recognition.”
Near the end of her show, Professor Perry frequently reads aloud her “letter of the week” addressed to a public figure on a subject dear to her heart. This morning, after reflecting on the Lenten topic of “perspective,” and in the context of building beloved community, I decided to write Melissa a letter:
I so appreciate and am grateful for the gifts you share on air and the many ways you and your guest commentators “do not so readily accept the current or formulated interpretations” of current events. I met you in Chicago several years ago and learned we both went to school in Chesterfield County, VA. I know you to be passionate about living MLK’s vision of Beloved Community because I’ve personally heard you claim it.
Along with many companions on the journey, you share what I perceive to be a widespread yearning for more redemptive, constructive interpretations of the significance of Selma today. On next week’s live broadcast, I pray that you speak of the ethos of Beloved Community and that your panelists fearlessly engage the spirituality of Dr. King and followers. You are a gifted teacher and I enjoy learning from you. And you are keenly aware of the power you have to reframe the meaning of current events for your viewers. For the common good, please do this for us next week. You are in my heart and in prayers, friend.
Be the Love,