A Reverence for Life
Written by M. Linda Jaramillo
February 6, 2012
At this time of
year, grassroots organizations all over the world connect to remember the lives
of two significant 20th Century prophets and peacemakers, Mahatma
Gandhi and Martin Luther King. During
the Season for Nonviolence, the 64 days between the anniversaries of the
assassinations of Gandhi and King, thousands of people gather to honor their
memory. One might interpret the Season
for Nonviolence as an appeal for peace.
But it extends far beyond that plea.
During this time, individuals renew their commitments to a vision of a
better world that honors the dignity and worth of all people. At the heart of this message is a unified voice
proclaiming that respect and reverence for life are at the core of human
relationships and the common good.
It is a time when
we are called to intentionally find ways to heal and be healed of that which
separates us. It is a time to come
together to change the course of destruction of human beings, communities,
nations and the world. It is a time to
be reminded of the necessity to care about one another. It is a time when new models for
reconciliation and harmony are discovered to reclaim the reverence for
So the Season for
Nonviolence really isn’t just about the absence of war, because that alone will
not ensure peace in our hearts or in our world.
This year, let’s consider the places where the reverence for life is being
threatened. For example, it is
unthinkable that the richest nation in the world still cannot feed all its
children. It is unreasonable for
families to lack basic needs such as adequate housing, affordable child care,
and access to medical care. In a nation
that values knowledge and education, we must commit to investing more in our
schools than in our prisons.
The question is
not what is needed because I think most would agree that caring for one another
is at the core of our human values. The real
question is who should pay for it. Should
it be a matter of public responsibility? In our context that public institution is the
government. I realize that there is much
debate in the halls of congress and statehouses that government needs to be
smaller and take only certain responsibilities such as national security and
maintaining order in the country. I
disagree. If we believe in the common
good as a basic human value, then as a government of the people, we have the
collective responsibility to provide the basic essentials for those who are the
most vulnerable so that all lives are revered.
If we don’t, who will?
Gandhi and Martin Luther King called for a culture of justice and peace. They pressed us to recognize the deep scars
created by oppression and greed. They appealed
to us to dig deep into our human consciousness
and find ways to alleviate human suffering.
In their honor, let’s engage in meaningful dialogue about our moral
responsibility to care for one another.
While the need is year around, during this year’s Season of Nonviolence,
let’s have an honest conversation about what the “reverence for life” really
The United Church of Christ has more than 5,277 churches
throughout the United States. Rooted in
the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal
relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of
every UCC congregation. UCC members and
churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains
principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.
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