Prayers for inclusivity
“We're one but we're not the same”
This line often plays in my head and I hear these words to mean our connection with others and our inclusivity. The words call to me. They remind me to see. They remind me to care. To care for people. To care for the individual. To care for the stranger. To care for the friend. To care with an abundance of welcome and acceptance and love.
Diversity is about acknowledging difference. It’s our broader understanding to define our differences from others such as culture, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
Inclusivity is the mechanism to create practices we put into place as a result of this recogntion of diversity. Inclusivity offers a whole-hearted welcome and acceptance in full and complete appreciation of a person. In many settings we need to utilise equity to eliminate any barriers stopping inclusivity.
These are words for our time. Diversity. Equity. Inclusivity. These are words we hear in relation to companies, organisations and countries. But we too must confront these challenges ourselves and review our own attitudes, values and behaviours. The reality is that inclusivity is a journey and we’re always a work in progress.
We can not confuse tolerance with inclusivity. Tolerance accepts people despite their differences. To be truly inclusive we must be fully accepting and welcoming of all people.
We’re not the same but we are one. We are each of us loved by God completely, just as we are, each of us in our diverse ways. As God’s people we are called to lead the way in our inclusivity of others. In our words and in our actions we follow Jesus when we are inclusive of everyone we meet. We are called to see. We are called to care. We are called to act. We are called to love.
There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Galations 3:28 (NRSVUE)
Today’s prayers use two of the most common flavour enhancers and most likely you’ll have them in a shaker or grinder in your pantry. The prayers are for others but they also include praying for yourself and your own journey towards inclusivity.
A flavour enhancer doesn’t seek to change the underlying tastes and flavours of food. Instead it seeks to bring out the flavour and add depth and bring out the best flavours of the food. Flavour enhancers celebrate the food.
The call to inclusivity is a call to be flavour enhancers. Jesus told us we are salt for everyone on earth.
You are the salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.
Matthew 5:13 (CEV)
My hope for today’s Virtual Prayer Room is a fresh awakening in an awareness of the diversity around each of us. Our own diversity and the diversity we see in others is to be delighted in and celebrated. When we embrace inclusivity we open the door to a deeper, richer, brighter more flavourful experience in our own lives as well as in the lives of others.
May your prayers be flavourful this week and may we find celebration in diversity and inclusivity.
On the journey
Salt Shaker Prayer
Hold a salt shaker. Think of your attitudes to diversity, equity and inclusivity. What do these concepts mean for you in your own life and in the way you treat others? Salt is a flavour enhancer. How do your words and actions show you are a flavour enhancer? As a flavour enhancer can you embrace diversity, implement equity and be inclusive? Sprinkle salt on food* and offer your thoughts in one sentence prayers. Pray for the individuals you know who are marginalised through their diversity. Pray for yourself in your own journey of inclusivity of others.
*If you don’t (or can’t) use salt to season your food you could use an alternative flavour enhancer or print out an image to represent the people you’d like to pray for and sprinkle salt onto the image.
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