Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Sinking Ship

“I have said [many things] to you to keep you from stumbling.  They will put you out of the synagogues.  Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so, they are offering worship to God.  And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.”  John 16:1-3 NRSV

When President Obama was in office, the Republicans stood fast against much of what he sought to do.  There was no cooperation NOT because he is black but because there were vast disagreements.  Now that President Trump is in office, the Democrats are promising to do the very same thing and for the same reason: vast disagreements.  This is all done for one reason and one reason only: to do their level best to win back (or retain) majority power in Congress.  They only think they are doing a “service” (worship) to the nation.

Unfortunately, when we do so in the name of religion and/or social justice, we do not stop to consider the actual harm we are doing in the process to the very process by which this nation is governed.  We think we are doing a “service”, but in fact we are doing great harm.

To be sure, Jesus was talking specifically about religious persecution.  Those disciples of Jesus will certainly run into trouble with the religious authorities, and those authorities will pull out all the stops (think of parliamentary procedures in today’s Congress and in the streets) to damage or destroy the opposition – and all to the same end: to do what they may think is a service.  To God, to the Party, ostensibly to the people or their particular cause.  All because we refuse to listen.  All because we embrace our emotions, dismiss the facts or the reality, and seek only to discredit the “other”.  All because we are not really trying to do what is right but only because we are trying to stop the “other”.  All because we are more attuned to “rights” than we are to “respect”. 

This short-sightedness is going to destroy us all because one cannot sink only half the ship.  Jesus knew it and tried to teach it to us; but we are so certain of our own task and mindful only of our individual rights and/or cause that we fail to realize (or care about) the real harm we are doing.  For to do harm to the “other” is to do harm to ourselves. 

Let us agree that Jesus was talking to “us”; not only to “them”.  Maybe then we can begin to let the smoke clear, assess the damage long ago done, and begin to rebuild.  For the nation.  For our children.  For one another.  For our God.

May He show mercy,


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