I picture a small island with many people living happily. Suddenly it splits in half, then again in quarters. People are violent and shaking, clinging to one another as the water divides the sand and the quarters continue to fragment. The earth quakes and splits in countless spasms. Before long, only 3 people can share a merger piece of land, holding on for dear life as some slip into the ocean abyss. Another division and each person grasps futile grains of sand that slips through strained fingers as life ebbs away. Land has sunk beneath the horizon and all souls are in the ocean, some to float and others to sink deeper into the peaceful sleep of death beneath the turbulent waters.
A world divided.
Religiously. Sexually. Ethnically.
Nationally. Linguistically. Ideologically. Esoterically.
We are one. We are many.
I am one of those who has waited and watched on the sidelines of the US political wars. I have not wanted to wade into these troubled waters, lost in the milieu of accusations and arguments trying to find the least-evil candidate to hold onto for dear life. In my reticence to do battle, I may be cowardly or foolish or right out stupid…
I just don’t know who to fight for.
No one has my vote.
I live in a Nation divided, polarized by extremes, or so it seems.
No one goes to middle ground, it can’t be found.
No man’s land is no place to stand… you get shot down.
When did we stop listening? When did debate and dialogue fall from a duel of the minds and become a school yard punching war? “Fight, fight, fight…” the crowd chants to incite the swinging of fists and blood dripping down lips. In the school yard there’s a teacher with sensibility and a whistle to pull the bloodied juveniles apart, squat to their eye-level and teach them some manners. In the political arena, who will call the draw and pull out the measuring stick for some corrective lashings?
Our Nation is a Presidential colosseum where all spectators are pulled into the blood-drenched field to fight for survival. With jerseys of blue and red, each side lobs demonizing accusations at the other. Those who wear purple are stripped naked and mandated to choose a team.
I wonder if there isn’t something more sinister beneath what we see… on TV. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand,” said the Great Teacher we Christians laud above all (Mark 3:24). Satan doesn’t drive out Satan, but he does run around with the wrecking ball of dissention, inciting this side to blame that side for the damage and continuing his pillaging unnoticed as new enemies do battle in his wake.
Listen to the voice of Truth and a heart of Love. No, he doesn’t have a comb over, she’s not covering her gray with blonde highlights. His hair is matted with blood, encircled by cruel thorns. He hangs naked on a gruesome cross, straining for each rasping breath saying, “Father forgive them,” pouring mercy over the ruthlessly violent persecutors who gamble for his blood-stained robe.
Here the most wretched creature, wrapped in tortured shame that defiles his name, is the hidden Creator. He formed the elephant, donkey, and the soaring eagle, and loves them all the same. But it’s not for the animals that he gave his life, it’s for humans, the stewards of his creation and his most prized possession. The one who gave breath to all living beings willingly gives up his own that all may truly live.
Christians, those who follow the way of our Lord Jesus will face the same and so we heed his warning…
““Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)
The love of MOST will grow cold.
Christians, we may lose our candidate of choice, but let’s not lose our love. Though our common enemy aims to divide, let’s hold one another close in a love that sometimes disagrees but has eyes to see Christ in one another. For we are only aliens in this world, passing through, holding up the torch of LOVE as we listen to the Voice of TRUTH, hoping that as we look up, the World will gaze up to the heavens with us and be free.
Once every divided fragment of earth sinks beneath the horizon of time, some will sink to the depths and others will float on top of the water looking up at the One who fills the highest heavens. He is our hope and salvation. So let us keep our gaze heavenward both now and forevermore.
Let us live in love.