John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
I started out on two different rants for this week. As I have heard the reports of the Scooter Libby trial and each day has shown more and more of the deceit, arrogance, and downright meanness of the Vice President’s office, I have been enraged. I long for justice for the wrongs visited upon our nation by those actions…for the squandering of our moral authority and the lives lost in an unnecessary war that has now harmed not only our own national security but the stability of an entire region. That was one rant.
The second was reading the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which brought up all my resentment over the way scientific reports about global warming have been ignored, suppressed, and edited out of documents for political purposes. As if creating a new haven for terrorists in the Middle East were not enough, we now seem bent on threatening the entire planet.
And for four years now, all of us who have seen the writing on the wall and have objected to our national idolatry have been called unpatriotic…unchristian even…as the corruption and delusion have reached ever more astounding levels. I smiled the other night as I watched a very conservative news anchor go off on his own rant over having his conservative credentials and even his patriotism called into question because he could not support the President’s troop surge. Now even conservatives are coming to know how it feels. Burn your pinch to Caesar or you’re out. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
And then the tornadoes hit central Florida. Twenty dead at last count. I went to bed that night and awoke to a ringing phone. My brother had passed out and was on his way to the ER. I got home from the hospital as dawn was breaking but my ailing cat would not let me sleep. The next part of the day was spent in the veterinary ER.
In very short order, I went from global to national to local in my anxiety, which pulled it all back to what I believe is the core of the Gospel. Jesus has one commandment: Respond to God’s love for us by loving each other. What happens locally will ripple out to the world. Divisions between individuals become divisions between families which in turn become divisions between towns and states and nations. We have lived it over the past six years and it’s time to stop.
We don’t have to agree on the specific answers to national or even personal challenges. But we do have to recognize that no one human being speaks for God and that when love is absent, God is absent, no matter how many times God’s name is invoked. We are called to love one another. In the Kingdom of God, the lion lies down with the lamb, the hawk with the dove…not because their natural instincts have changed, but because they love each other.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
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