In honor of the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our congregation’s worship services included listening to a reading from Dr. King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail. One of the key teachings from this letter is Dr. King’s insistence that we are all interconnected. Dr. King wrote, “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We continue Dr. King’s work of justice when we take seriously these words. Discrimination, stigma, and shame seek to separate us, isolate us, and mock Dr. King’s insights that we are “tied in a single garment of destiny.”
The work of racial justice and mental health justice are interwoven. One place of intersection and connection is the impact of bias in a society that continues to worship an idealized and racist notion of humankind that is male, white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and neuro-normative rather than embrace humanities full expression in people who are living in nonwhite, non-male, LGBTQ, disabled, and neuro-diverse bodies. The journey of liberation of one is connection to the journey of liberation of all. And indeed, some of us represent multiple liberation journeys in a single body.
Today let us reflect on the interwoven journeys of liberation and discern together how we can weave together a single garment of destiny that the whole human family can wear with pride. I invite you to imagine what this garment would look like, feel like, and how clothing our children in liberation would change the world.
Mental health justice is one movement of liberation that is connected to other movements of liberation. Today we give thanks, remember, and honor the legacy of Dr. King for invoking in each one of us a sense of being co-creators of our shared destiny. May we work together to confront, dismantle, and eradicate discrimination, bias, and stigma in all forms so that one day liberation may break forth upon humanity, as is our destiny, awakening within us a deeper love.
Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund (she/her/hers)
Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund (she/her/hers) serves on the national staff of the United Church of Christ as Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice. She also serves as senior pastor of First Congregational UCC of Indianapolis, IN. Sarah is the author of the acclaimed and best selling books “Blessed Are The Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and the Church“ (Chalice Press, 2014) and “Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness and Marriage (Chalice Press, 2021). She blogs at www.sarahgriffithlund.com.