I usually don’t like to wear my religion on my lapel or show it off on the bumper sticker of my car. I rarely write openly about religion and certainly don’t profess to be a theologian or even know more about Greek Orthodoxy than the next average person.
But I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church and like millions of others, learned basic principles of humanity and lessons on how to treat people— in the eyes, footsteps and teachings of Jesus Christ.
But the continuous online discussions taking place about the “Black Lives Matter” issue versus the “All Lives Matter” responses got me thinking.
Watching Archbishop Elpidophoros boldly attend a march and support the BLM movement himself, and on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, has also emboldened me to speak out publicly and share a story from my childhood that might pertain to what’s going on today.
I remember a lesson in Sunday school when I was a kid that perplexed me tremendously. It was the parable of the sheep, when Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who left his flock of 99 sheep that were in his care to look for one, single sheep that had lost its way and was in trouble.
I went home and asked my mom.
Why would the shepherd risk the safety of the 99 sheep in his care— just to save one?
Without hesitation, my mom responded “Because it was the ONE that was in trouble and needed his attention. The other sheep were just fine. That one needed help.”
Fast forward to today. Several commenters on Facebook commented on a post on The Pappas Post Facebook page about the Archbishop attending the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn.
“All lives matter,” many people responded.
Every time I read that, I thought of that Sunday school class at Holy Trinity in Pittsburgh and that lesson of the Parable of the sheep— as well as my mom’s explanation.
Yes… we do believe that all lives do matter and without any asterisks or distinction, right now in our nation’s history and at this moment, it’s the lives that are threatened the most— that we must tend to.
Instead of letting one race of people continue to suffer at the hands of historic and systematic racism— if you want to say that all lives matter, then come out for the one that needs our attention right now, the black ones.
We have a responsibility, as Jesus taught us, to tend to the sheep that needs our help. And it’s quite obvious with what’s happening in our country right now that indeed, it’s the black community that’s been suffering— for a long time. And it’s time we tend to them.
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