One of the first things you’ll notice when you visit one of the Cypher Church Events is the diversity of the people. The second thing you’ll notice is the cypher–the circle we form as we express our worship through movement, lyric, song, and rhyme.

There’s something unique, that you can almost feel, when a group of strangers get together and…dance! Some people are better than others dancing, but that’s not the point. The cypher is an invitation that offers you the choice to participate. No matter how good your movements, even if it’s just a little sway, when you join the cypher you choose to become a part of something bigger than you. You demonstrate for a moment unity in diversity; your individual gifts and abilities are offered to the whole for the sake of deeper connection.

As easy as it is to choose community, however, you can choose the alternative–to go alone. This road can lead to a place where defining who’s in and who’s out is important. Dangerous ideologies do this. Religion does this when it draws lines in the sand to protect traditions and privilege.

This past summer was a real visceral and tangible reminder what happens when “Us vs. Them” replaces, “Unity in Diversity”. Clear-cut examples, both abroad and at home, including Charlottesville. It became the focal point for evil to move to the forefront. Racism, white supremacy, the masquerading ‘Alt-Right’, emerged with renewed and energized voice. It’s not the first time any of us have seen racism, but this Summer has changed how public and brazen evil has become. It’s made me reflect on Charlottesville and how the same evils happen in Calgary. Just look at your Facebook feeds of people you know, flirting with dangerous ideas designed to divide people and demonize the other.

It leaves me with a question: what can we do? The answer starts with what can I do.

The only person I can control is myself; I’m the only person I can change. I need to deal with my own evil. I need to look at my own racism.

And most of all I need to respond to my own humanity. I can do this by responding to invitation.

The cypher invites you to come as you are and bring your voice to the whole, even if it’s just a little sway. This invitation is one Cypher Church values because we respond to another invitation: the invitation of God has for you and I.

God’s invitation for you, how you can respond to the growing hate, is an invitation to live out the fullness of your humanity. To discover the extent of your gifts and abilities, to realize your dreams, and to deal with all of the trash in your life that’s holding you back. It’s a call to work against injustices, live a life of wholeness and hope, to repair and restore things that are broken by beautifying, and ultimately to love. A love for yourself, for God, and for your neighbour (the other).

This is the invitation. How will you respond?