You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this. – Deuteronomy 24:17-18 (NRSV)
Two years ago, much was being made about things that weren’t happening all over the country. I’m talking about fears that critical race theory (CRT) was being taught to children in public schools K-12.
CRT wasn’t being taught there. Nevertheless, impassioned accusations flew that educators were shaming and blaming white children for historical events, namely slavery and segregation, while reinforcing messages of inferiority among black children. There was virtually no evidence to support these accusations, but that did little to stop the furor.
Deuteronomy 24 encourages us to remember our ancestors as a basis for practicing awareness and compassion in the present. Justice depends on it. Perhaps if European settlers to Turtle Island remembered that their ancestors were once conquered and colonized by the Roman Empire, things might have gone differently in the supposed “New World.” Perhaps they would not have raised their sails at all. We will never know.
We do know this: No one is harmed, shamed, or blamed simply by remembering painful actions or experiences, ours or those of our ancestors. On the contrary, harm comes, compassion retreats, and falsehoods succeed when we fail to remember.
Holy Memory, we remember the death of Jesus, where our complicity and Your compassion embrace.