Standing with Our Asian Brothers and Sisters
Christina Lui (MCS '06), Regent's Alumni and Church Involvement Officer, calls us to pray and stand alongside our vulnerable brothers and sisters in a thoughtful reflection on last week's attacks and the ongoing reality of anti-Asian racism.
Hate crimes against Asians and St. Patrick’s prayer.
These have been mingling in my head.
Yesterday at lunch, I felt a strong need to eat something very Chinese to recognize and claim the value of my heritage in the face of heinous erasure. I ate a joong (zongzi). The glutinous rice and fillings are tightly wrapped with bamboo leaves and bound with string. There’s both a sense of protection in this wrapping and a sense of bondage. That the treasures that lie beneath are only for those who will do the work to see past the wrapping and who will tear away at the bonds.
Part of the prayer associated with St. Patrick goes like this:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
This prayer has always reminded me of God’s closeness, Jesus’ intimate empathy for our human experiences, and the Holy Spirit’s surrounding and enfolding presence and protection. But I read it anew today. To be a follower of Christ is to be like this Christ for those around you. This means that if you claim to be a Christian, then it is God’s calling on your life to be profoundly with, to surround, to comfort, to protect, to restore, to speak with and for your neighbour. And your neighbours need it. Your vulnerable, scapegoated, racialized, minority, female, immigrant, elderly, etc. neighbours need it.
The prayer goes on:
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
The three in one and one in three language tells us of the interconnectedness of the Triune God. That is the Christian’s identity and call. We cannot be what we are meant to be without the profound inclusion of the other. For all of nature is created out of this interconnectedness.
The prayer asks that we bind ourselves to this reality as we bind ourselves to the Trinity. And may this binding be far stickier than the one on my joong, lest our salvation be torn away because of bondage to the sins of patriarchy, white supremacy, ignorance, silence, apathy, and the inability to be Christ for each other.
Lord have mercy.