Healed by the Light of Love

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

Healed by the Light of Love

Beloved in Christ,

One of the soundtracks of my childhood was a constant stream of Norteño music, which is a sort of country-folk style from northern Mexico. It was always playing while my grandmother did work around the house, or when I was in the car with my grandfather. Like all background music, I never gave much thought to it. It was just something that was there, like decorations on the wall or scenery passing by outside the window. 

I grew up moving constantly between two very different cultural worlds: the Mexican immigrant neighborhood where my grandparents lived, and the almost entirely Anglo community where I lived and went to school. My ethnic identity as a Latino and a third generation Mexican-American was like that Norteño music: always there in the background, but largely unexamined. 

In recent years, I’ve made a conscious commitment to stay more deeply connected to that part of who I am. As a white-presenting Latino, I’ve never been forced to. That’s part of the privilege of being white; one can go through the world without ever having to think much about race or ethnicity. White supremacy culture is sustained in part by keeping us disconnected from our own histories and traditions, by literally whitewashing the complexity of each of our identities. Part of healing and transformation is to literally re-member the fragmented parts of our selves. That’s the kind of re-membering we do each week in the Eucharist. 

Part of what I have learned from Dr. Catherine Meeks and others is that racial justice and healing is not primarily about feeling shame or guilt for the profound racial injustice that has always been part of life in this country. It’s about all of us, together, finding healing and liberation. And the way of Jesus shows us that we can only find that when we confront the full truth about who we are, what we have done, what has been done on our behalf, and the entangled and broken ways we are connected. Each week at the confession, we remember that we are not healed by shame or guilt, but by the light of love, a light which holds, warms, and frees us even as it exposes the worst we can be or do. 

Later this month, the diocesan Racial Justice and Healing commission is hosting a summit which will inaugurate a new season in this critical part of our work. Dr. Meeks will be with us on Thursday, September 28, and the commission will lead a retreat on Friday and Saturday. You can learn more about how you can participate here. My hope is that this retreat will become a regular feature of our life together in the diocese. 

I’m so proud and grateful for the work our commission has done to ground the retreat in the eucharistic pattern that shapes our lives as followers of Jesus. Racial justice and healing is fundamentally grounded in spiritual formation and spiritual renewal. It’s about finding the new and abundant life of endless love that Jesus promises, and that white supremacy constantly conspires to steal. I hope to see many of you at the summit as we continue to discover the joy and freedom of connecting to the deepest parts of ourselves, one another, and building deep, loving connections across every line of difference, until God’s perfect reign is done fully, on earth as it is in heaven. 

Grace and peace,

The Right Revered Craig Loya
X Bishop