Saturday, July 9, 2016

Divided We Fall

 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand  (Matthew 12:25).

I am sad.  I look around, and all I see is division.  Black divided from white.  Democrat divided from Republican.  Christian divided from Muslim.  Man divided from woman.  This is not right.  It is not healthy.  It is not helpful.  And it is not Christ-like.

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  
(Colossians 3:11-15)

Brothers and sisters, we are in difficult times.  But so was Paul when he wrote Colossians.  It was during the persecution of the new Christian church by the Jewish authorities.  The verse in Matthew is a quote by Jesus.  He was speaking to the Pharisees, who were accusing him of casting out demons by the power of the devil.  In the same chapter, it states that the pharisees were holding a council to determine how to destroy him.

My family and I attend a very small church in a very small town.  But it is one of the most diverse churches, culturally, that I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of.  We are a family made up of blacks, whites, Hispanics; immigrants and people who have lived here for generations; rich and poor; law enforcement officers and former offenders; democrats, republicans, and independents; old people and little children.  And when we meet together, we are one.  We are family.  It doesn't matter what color you are, or how old, or your job or your political persuasion.  We are all brothers and sisters In Christ Jesus.  

Now I realize that this country is not made up only of Christians.  But that is part of the beauty of it.  There is a poem inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  It is a poem called "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

 This is the America that I love.  Not the one where everyone is trying to get their own way and to make everyone else agree with them.  The one that "Glows world-wide welcome."  The America that was built on freedom.  Not Tyranny.  Not Selfishness.  The America that worked together through tough times to come out stronger.  Not the one that fell apart when the going got tough.

We have to get back to that.   We can't let ourselves be divided and conquered.  We have to band together as ONE nation.  White AND Black.  Republican AND Democrat.  Christian AND Muslim.  Men AND women.  And ALL Americans.  That is our heritage.  And it is the only way we will survive.

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