… so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. — 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 NIV
America is considered the melting pot of the world. Millions of people from thousands of countries, cultures and even varying dialects are smashed together in 3.797 million square miles. Every one of us is seeking to fulfill their concept of the American dream of success and prosperity.
While there are some who have reached that goal, there are others still seeking the goal. Still others have given up because the odds are stacked against them.
To be fair, the collective dream will never be achieved until the body finds a way to learn how to work together. I may disagree with the political stance of my neighbor, but I will fight to the death in defending my neighbor’s ability to speak on their truth and be heard. We are all part of the same body.
When my eyes are failing, my hands work together with my eyes to see my way through. My hands cannot get angry, pound on my eyes and scream “WORK!” My body must make the adjustment to accommodate the decrease of my sight and continue to work and play in the world. The same logic holds true for the inhabitants of this great land called America.
As I watched my children grow, each of them would complain about pain in their legs, knees or hips. The doctor would calm this anxious mother’s heart by reminding me the child was experiencing growing pains, and that nothing was seriously wrong with my child. This body called America is suffering some really strong growth pains. It will take more than two aspirin to heal the pain we are suffering through, but healing is on the way.
Acts of civil disobedience, riots, and mass public protests all speak out loudly to the pain that exists in the body. Each act of civil disobedience demands that the hate stop. Every riot demands the need for respect to begin. Each public protest points out that each member of the body must be recognized as an important, viable part of a functioning body. The culmination of this renewal of public aggression is a deep cry seeking justice for all.
America is choking on its systemic, internalized, festering hate — and the body is shouting “I can’t breathe!” Transphobia… “I can’t breathe!” Homophobia… “I can’t breathe!” Sexism… “I can’t breathe!” Addictions… “I can’t breathe!” Domestic violence… “I can’t breathe!” And the list goes on, stealing more and more of our ability to breathe.
As the nation struggles to survive, we will ultimately realize that we are all part of one body. We are living, working, thriving, and functioning together. We must learn how to achieve the great American dream without continuing to find new ways to kill each other. The dream becomes viable when we stop resurrecting old ways to accuse and persecute each other.
The descendants of the Africans brought here against their will four centuries ago are speaking to the body. A miracle from God is needed to wipe away four centuries of prejudice. The world is watching as this body composes itself in a collective roar to stop the madness that is trying to destroy the body. The only aspirin that will heal the pain is some extra-strength love encapsulated with peace and understanding.
We are living through challenging times that should encourage the body to work together. Everything from COVID-19 to forest fires caused by lightning is reshaping the vision of the body and the needs of the body. Just when the body begins to think that things have calmed down, we discover that the danger is not over. The threat to existence can only be found when the body decides to work together to find every way possible to preserve the evasive American dream for the next generation.
When the human body becomes ill, it develops a fever to try and burn out whatever is making it sick. The fever calls attention to the sickness, and the body seeks a cure. Like a fever, civil disobedience is designed to call out what is wrong with the body. Public protests will show what is broken and call for a unified action to fix it. The body must work together to fix and mend what is broken. We cannot destroy, tear off, or defund any of the unwanted or unseemly parts of the body.
This ailing, limping body must see that the time for positive healing solutions has come. Maybe this country needs to learn a lesson from the WNBA and stand down in solidarity for two days.
The body needs to take a time out to breathe, reflect and mend. Only then can we rejoice and sing a new song that will honor and respect the contributions of the entire body.
Serving as one of four Co-Pastors for Casa de Cristo Church and Apostolic Center in Phoenix, Ariz., an inner-city ministry that is Spirit-led and Bible-fed, Pastor Charlotte Strayhorne is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been in active ministry for more than 35 years.
Known in the LGBTQ community for her activism and leadership for equality and justice for all, she is a recipient of the City of Phoenix’s Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award. Her love for the theatre earned her an ariZoni for Best Supporting Actress as Calpurnia in the Hale Center production of “To Kill A Mockingbird”.
With deep family roots in Cincinnati, she is an ardent fan of her Cincinnati home teams but her heart bleeds purple for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury. With travel destinations from Indiana to Italy, she has been consistent in sharing her exciting message of love for God.