By Sydney Brouillard-Coyle
We are once again entering a time of New Year’s Resolutions - things that we commit to doing that will last approximately two weeks before we give up and revert back to our old habits.
We say that we will do better - take care of ourselves, eat healthier, volunteer in our community, commit to more spiritual practices - but the actual follow through rarely happens.
But we cannot afford to continue to be complacent, to be neutral, to stick with the “old” ways because that’s what makes us more comfortable. If the pandemic has (hopefully) taught us anything, it’s that we must be willing to challenge the status quo, to look for new ways of engaging with society and with each other, and to change our habits to better love our neighbours.
In 2021, we have seen the pandemic continue to destroy families, communities, and vulnerable populations, particularly when considering the inequitable distribution of vaccinations.
We have seen the effects of climate change becoming more and more apparent each passing day.
The discovery of the bodies of many Indigenous children on former residential school sites has pushed us to think deeper about our own roles in perpetuating colonial and white supremacist practices.
Over 460 transgender and gender-diverse people have died due to systemic and interpersonal transphobia worldwide.
Rates of mental illness, addiction, and suicide attempts have skyrocketed like never before, and the housing and poverty crisis continue to be exacerbated due to unsafe working conditions, minimum wage that does not equal living wage, and a lack of affordable housing.
These issues of discrimination, inequality, violence, and marginalization should be the call for all of us, as Anglicans, to stand up and to take action.
Through the Marks of Mission, we have committed to: proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom; teaching, baptizing, and nurturing new believers; responding to human need with loving service; seeking to transform unjust structures of society, challenging violence of every kind, and pursuing peace and reconciliation; and striving to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustaining and renewing the life of the Earth. Each of these Marks provides a unique way for the Holy Spirit to guide our faith, our teaching, and our advocacy.
We cannot be neutral. We cannot be passive. We cannot make a resolution and fail to follow through. I found a particularly profound quote while browsing social media that stated: “We need action heroes, not passive zeroes”.
What does it look like for us to be action heroes? To move away from complacency in the face of injustice? To embrace every child of God in the fullness they were created to be? To call out injustice, dismantle systemic discrimination, and create an equitable society for all? How do we walk with Jesus as action heroes for social justice?
As we move into 2022, let us pray that we can show justice through our radical diversity and inclusion, following in the footsteps that Jesus left behind.
We pray that God’s presence remains known among each and every one of us as we seek to transform our world to reflect the image of God, rather than the image of what we want.
We pray that each of us, and our church, is led away from the temptation to be complicit in the face of injustice – and instead, that we are given the courage to learn how to be true allies to all of God’s beloved children. Amen.
Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (ney/nem/nir) is co-chair of Proud Anglicans of Huron and music director at St. Paul’s Anglican Church.