September 3, 2020
Come Together
by Dr. Oliver Wagner
“But everything should be done decently and in order.” - 1 Corinthians 14:40
We are working our way through the story of Moses this month. In a few more weeks we’ll climb the mountain with him to receive the Ten Commandments. As I think about those laws from God, I realize how much our world and our society need such structure and order. The first commandment is that God is one. That means we are one (people). Another commandment warns against killing one another. Another outlaws false testimony and another warns against jealousy. Such laws are the foundation of a functioning, good society….and I fear we are drifting from that these days.

While Americans should and do disagree about many things, it is sad to see how disagreeable we have gotten with one another. It is tragic when violence claims lives of police, protesters, by-standers. Each person is a child of God and precious. In my extended family we disagree on many issues and vote for different candidates, but always there is respect and love for one another. Jesus commands us “to love” which requires not that we always agree, but that we always honor and treat with respect and dignity others with whom we differ. We hold much more in common than not! It was the Beatles who sang in the divisions of the late 1960s “Come together….right now.”

In the US right now it seems that cultural and political battle lines are not only firmly drawn, but getting more and more violent and divisive. God’s people must speak up and act for unity! Not long after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, I saw photos of police joining with those marching for racial equality and justice for all. It was heartening to see that “peace” and “justice” could be partners, and not in competition.  

Chaos is never good. Human beings and human society need order. Such is the first creation story in Genesis one (“God created order out of chaos”) and in the first century when Paul counseled the early church to do things “decently and in order.” I pray that all of the harsh rhetoric, tragic violence and unlawful destruction of property ceases. I pray that we stop yelling across battle lines and start listening, respecting and working together to make our world more just, peaceful and harmonious. 
Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to pray “thy kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.” Use the church to help preach and teach that message of love, unity, hope and justice for all. Amen and Amen!
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009