If there was anything positive that emerged from the horror of 9/11, it was unity. For a time, we and our leaders set politics aside and let what we had in common bind us together.
Unfortunately, that was short-lived.
Over the past two decades, darker powers seem to have taken a foothold, sowing discord and poisoning every hope of reconciliation…much like a pervasive virus. Any opportunity for the people of our country to unite in championing a common cause or fighting a common enemy soon dissolves into shrill voices and finger-pointing as we entrench ourselves further, looking not to what’s best for our people, but to what’s best for our ideological “team.”
Surely the pandemic is a wake-up call staring us in the face. Surely the long-overdue attention to inequities among our people is an opportunity.
How do we get back to treating each other with civility in politics, respect in personal life? How do we set aside the need to be right and start listening with the goal of hearing and respecting the views of others, rather than looking for something to call out and disparage? When will we put aside our differences and start seeking reconciliation by focusing on what unites rather than on what separates us?
I’ve watched world events unfold, and I’ve been hopeful, looking for the “shining light.” – a person with authority and influence, a religious or political leader, no matter what party -- who will miraculously find a way to reconcile the country.
And then it dawned on me.
Jesus Christ is that Shining Light. I’ve been “putting [my] hope in princes,” when in reality it’s up to me – and to each of us -- to take that first step. As Christians, all of us are called to be the “ambassadors,” mustering up whatever light we can and bringing it to a world desperately in need of some Good News to pierce the darkness. We’re called to pray without ceasing for the strength to look beyond the label, to refuse to engage with discord, to see and treat both friend and foe as Jesus would – each as an individual rather than an affiliation, and each as a beloved child of God.
It’s got to start somewhere.