Music & the Spoken Word: A beloved community of sisters and brothers

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This “Music & the Spoken Word” has previously recorded music with a new “Spoken Word.” This will be given Sunday, Jan. 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” (see “Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times” by Jonathan Sacks).

Contrast that kind of shallow society with the sense of belonging found in a “beloved community,” a phrase popularized by the Rev. 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” (see “The Beloved Community,” thekingcenter.org).

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.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.comBYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), thetabernaclechoir.orgYouTube and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages