How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore (Psalm 133).
In his reflections on Psalm 133 in the August 15 UCC Daily Devotional, John Edgerton points out that, “Our country is deeply fractured. Division has reached the point that we view those who differ from us not as compatriots but as people who live in a different country, a country we would not want to live in.” And he concludes by saying, “We have moved beyond the point where a return to “normal” can be achieved by symbolic gestures or speeches or prayer-vigils. The divisions among us can only be resolved by real, substantive change.”
As followers of Christ, we look to God to work that substantive change in us and in our world. Throughout that Bible we read stories of the kinds of ways that God transforms individuals and commissions them to create transformation in the lives of people and society. Christ’s resurrection serves as a template for this process: resurrection power opens the way for us to discover our new selves empowered drive positive change that betters the lives and experience of others.
Our congregation must live up to our calling in Christ. Each of us begins by confronting any failure of unity within ourselves. In what ways do we lack peace within ourselves? How are competing priorities or values tearing our minds and hearts asunder?
As we move into peace within ourselves, we are made ready to create and enjoy peace with those around us. Like many UCC congregations, ours is comprised of people who hold highly diverse religious and political views. We can choose to shape our relationships according to the polarized lines reflected in our society today, or we can choose to shape our relationships according to the peace and unity envisioned by Christ’s new kingdom. We can choose to read or post inflammatory messages on social media that fuel division and enmity, or we can stand for peace and reconciliation in all we say and do, even with those on the other side of the issues.
It really is our choice! Will we allow systems of hatred, distrust, and conflict rule in our hearts, or do we choose to open ourselves up to Christ’s redemptive systems of compassion, peace, and mercy?
Let us choose peace. Let us choose new life. Thanks be to God!
~ Pastor Paul Forrey
A Message from Pastor Paul Forrey