Having been involved with Ohio Interfaith Power & Light for over 10 years, my desire to care for creation has brought me to the journey of Becoming Beloved Community. As I have become aware of the intersection of racial justice and eco-justice, I have come to understand that the more that we care for each other, the more we care for creation, and vice versa. I more fully appreciate the beauty of creation when I see the beauty in myself and in all of God’s children, including all gender identities, colors, races, sexual orientation and classes. James Cone said in his Sojourners article, “Whose Earth is it Anyway?”: “The fight for justice cannot be segregated but must be integrated with the fight for life in all its forms.”

I am learning about racial healing, reconciliation and justice by reading books and articles, taking courses and seminars, watching films and attending programs. I practice what I’ve learned in community, intentionally putting myself into racially balanced groups where we explore deep issues. There I learn the hard way how much language matters, how imbedded my white privilege and biases really are, and how far I have to grow. I’ve made some marvelous new friends with whom to discover the truth.

My heart is being transformed through spiritual growth on this journey. I am using the practices in The Episcopal Church’s The Way of Love: Practices for A Jesus-Centered Life to experiment with spiritual practices and to revise my Rule of Life.

This has brought me to deeper understanding of the cyclical process of transformation that comes from continually striving for right relationship with self, with God, and with our neighbors and the earth. I’ve illustrated this with a simple nested meditation:

Becoming
Becoming Beloved
Becoming Beloved Community 

Becoming = moving toward being and loving the authentic self that God created each of us to be

Becoming Beloved = nurturing a loving relationship with God, fully loving God and feeling fully loved by God

Becoming Beloved Community = growing together as people who love God and love the image of God that we find in our neighbors, in ourselves, and in creation

Our spiritual growth comes from moving back and forth between all three spheres, which we explore through both learning and practice. Transformation comes when we open our hearts and practice The Way of Love as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Please join Cherie, the members of our task force and me in the journey of Becoming Beloved Community!

The Rev. Meribah Mansfield serves as Co-Convener of the Becoming Beloved Community Task Force. Connect with Meribah at meribahmansfield@gmail.com.