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Using our voice to love our neighbor

By January 19, 2024No Comments

A Voices’ column from 2017 has been on my mind of late. We thought we’d seen it all then, before polarized politics and Covid turned the world on its head. The column bears a repeat with a few additions. 

Jesus Christ turned our world on its head, but it seems society, then and now, just won’t listen.  We persist in allowing society and its winners to define who the winners and losers are.   

I personally come from a long line of losers: Eve and Adam got kicked out of the garden; Jesus was crucified; Martin Luther was excommunicated. My poor immigrant ancestors fled Germany, some owned slaves, and then most were traitors in the Civil War. People of my German heritage created one of the saddest eras in human history that included the horrors of Adolph Hitler and the Holocaust. 

Times and perspectives change. From that ignominious past, I now find myself more of a winner according to the societal definition: I have a strong family, a good education, and a good job. I’m white, privileged, and in good health. Much has been handed to me, and I have worked hard to take advantage of what was given to me.   

Let’s throw Lutheran Services Carolinas in there too. As CEO I find it difficult to talk independently, because we’re all in this together. LSC has been on a path from small nonprofit to fairly significant two-state ministry. We offer multiple services, now have a $224 million budget, and include more than 2,400 teammates. LSC has been effective, strong and nimble. We continue to grow, despite polarizing politics, Covid, the workforce crisis, etc.   

What can LSC do as an organization, and what can I do as an individual to honor what God has provided? I guess we and I could protect our positions, but that’s not very godly. I am reminded of the M’s: Matthew and Micah. Christ tells us that the second commandment, right after loving God, is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In Micah we are taught to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. LSC adopted a seventh value, Justice. We express Micah’s justice, our commitment to diversity/equity/inclusion, in Micah terms:  to be in a right relationship with God and a right relationship with each other.   

Christ turns winners and losers on their heads. Think of the Resurrection. Think of the rich man and the eye of the needle. Think about societal success versus Christ’s vision for humanity. 

When I originally wrote this in 2017, it was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. As I revise this, we just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, another Reformation. LSC, we, all of us, have the opportunity to participate in a new Reformation to serve seniors, children, and families who don’t have the resources or ability to care for themselves. Our Reformation vision and mission give us hands to serve and voices to advocate. Government is not all bad. In our country, government and nonprofits like LSC collaborate to provide essential services to people – people who could be you and me. So we lift our voices for our neighbors, often those who can’t speak for themselves: for nursing home residents, direct care workers who deserve a living wage, and foster children. We lift our voices for affordable health insurance for all; we lift our voices for veterans, refugees, and people with developmental disabilities and mental illness.  

Please join LSC in embracing our heritage and using it and our voice to love our neighbor. 

Erin Kidd

Author Erin Kidd

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