A Beloved Community of Sisters and Brothers, Sunday, January 16, 2022

We live in what some have called a “consumer society,” a society focused on buying and selling—then buying and selling some more. Such a society thrives on discontent, inadequacy, competition, and comparisons, because that drives us to make more purchases. The late British rabbi and writer Jonathan Sacks observed: “A consumer society … encourages us to spend money we don’t have, on products we don’t need, for a happiness that won’t last. … In a consumer society,” he explained, “we act to be envied rather than admired.”[1]

Contrast that kind of shallow society with the sense of belonging found in a “beloved community,” a phrase popularized by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The beloved community, he taught, is based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings. It represents “a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. … Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”[2]

Of course, that does not describe our present situation. All is not perfect and harmonious, and sometimes Dr. King’s beloved community seems out of reach. But giving up is not the answer. The goal may be distant and the journey may be long, but every step in the right direction gets us closer.

What are those steps? Surely one is to recognize that we are all part of God’s family; we are sisters and brothers journeying together for a season on this beautiful planet. As such, we owe it to one another to be and do a little better. True sisters and brothers set aside animosity, self-centeredness, and smallness. We enlarge our hearts and minds to the people around us, because, despite our differences, we’re family. So we rise above the bitterness and hostility, the intolerance and anger of the day, and dig down deep to find and share God’s love with our brothers and sisters across the street and around the world.

That demands much of us. But anything that’s rewarding is also demanding. So talk to someone who thinks or looks different from you. Be patient and openhearted to someone who otherwise frustrates you. When we treat each other like family—one by one, person by person—we begin to build a beloved community.

[1] Jonathan Sacks, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (2020), 104–5.
[2] The King Center, “The Beloved Community,” thekingcenter.org.

January 16, 2022
Broadcast Number 4,818

The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Scatter Sunshine
Edwin O. Excell; arr. Ryan Murphy

Hear Him
Ryan Murphy

Prelude on “Prospect of Heaven”
Anonymous; arr. Andrew Unsworth

How Bright Is the Day
American folk hymn; arr. Mack Wilberg

My God Is So High
African-American Spiritual; arr. Ryan Murphy

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
German hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg