Come On People Now

“C’mon people now, smile on each other, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.”

It was Saturday morning.

In a few short minutes, I would join a throng of over 40,000 marching through the streets of Boston. But first, we would gather in the sanctuary of the Old South Church and spend time in spiritual grounding.

The night before, there were over 1,500 packed into the sanctuary at Temple Israel, with another 4,500 listening online. After the cantor blew the shofar, the Rabbi, the Imam, and the Reverend all called us to worship in their own language and tradition. Later, the Governor of Massachusetts read from the Beatitudes: blessed are the peacemakers; the Attorney General reminded us that Neo-Nazis are not only lawless, they are godless; and the Mayor of Boston clearly repudiated the evil or racism.

I cried listening to them. Like many, after the tragedy and the vitriol of Charlottesville, I wanted a civic leader to stand up and speak words of healing and hope. When they finally came, it moved me deeply.

The entire city of Boston stood proud. When the march began, there were chants calling for justice not to renounce racism, but also to renounce homophobia and Islamaphobia and transphobia and gender bias. Often, the entire march came to a stop so that those with disabilities could catch up or rest.

Along the entire way, residents came out to signal their support. Standing on rooftops, hanging out windows, gathering on front porches and lining the sidewalks were cheering crowds patting us on the back, holding signs, capturing video and pictures, laughing, singing, crying. Boston was one powerful, vocal, urgent cry to reject the ugliness of white nationalism, white power, white privilege, and white supremacy.

In its place there grew up a spontaneous community of rich color and accent, with peoples from many nations and religious affiliations came together to give us a glimpse of what America wants to be.

When the march reached the Boston Commons, whatever dramatic ending Charlottesville conditioned us to anticipate never materialized. The Nazis were gone, quietly escorted out of the park by Boston police for having violated the cities hate speech codes.

I sat, exhausted, in the grass with my marching buddy. We watched children frolic, spoke with marchers as they triumphantly and joyously dispersed, read all the signs and slogans, looked through the video and photos I had captured, and called my wife to tell her I was safe and all went well.

“C’mon people now, smile on each other, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.”

The day began with a beautiful rendering of that old Youngblood’s song. It grounded us spiritually as the long day opened up. We walked from the sanctuary to the streets with those words as our marching orders.

And then we saw it unfold: the smile, the getting together, the loving one another right now.

And this, this is the world I want to live in. Boston was America’s clarion call to the bigot and the racist: your words and your hatred will be resisted. They will be drowned out by our love and compassion. You were not heard. You are not relevant. Today, love comes.

Gentle souls, smile on each other. Let’s all get together and love one another right now. These days require our shared commitments to love and justice. And lets all resist the invitation to hatred, judgment, and condemnation on this, our journey Into the Mystic.