January 29 – Equality
Megan Anna Neff
Read: Psalm 139
It was July of 2005, and I was traveling down a dusty, bumpy road with three Malawians: Gibson, Steve and Nixon. I clocked many hours in the car with these guys while interning at World Relief Malawi. Our conversations often drifted into interesting dialogue about politics and religion.
I remember that particular day in July because the bombings of London during their morning rush hour had just happened, and we were listening to the BBC. With the announcer’s prompting, we honored a moment of silence for the victims. After the moment of silence had passed, Gibson pointedly asked me, “In the U.S did you ever observe a moment of silence for Rwanda?” He was referring to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Almost 800,000 people died, and we in the U.S. heard little about it.
I had to respond with a meek “No.” Gibson laughed and proclaimed, “The life of one white person is worth the lives of a thousand Africans.” I sat stunned and silent. I wanted to deny it, but I couldn’t deny that I lived in a world that treated U.S. citizens with far more value than Africans. If we were to hit one of the many potholes that littered the road and spin out of control, I could anticipate how the news back home might read: “U.S. citizen dies in car accident.” The three other lives might be mentioned as naught but a footnote.
As I pondered the reality of Gibson’s comment, I kept asking myself: “How can I see beyond the bias of my culture in order to value the equality of all lives?” Since that conversation with Gibson, I have read reports of far-off tragedy with new eyes, imaging the people and faces as if that tragedy had happened to my friends, neighbors and community. It’s a heavy, sobering way to read the news, but it reminds me of the humanity of all and the value of every life.
Lord and giver of all life, help us to value each person, created in love by you.
In your mercy, guide and assist our efforts to promote the dignity and value of all human life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.