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Passing Judgment

And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear
Isaiah 11:3, ESV

This November will mark my first U.S. election season. I’m finding it an interesting experience! The UK is also set to have an autumn full of drama: COVID lock downs are being imposed every few days on new regions, the healthcare system is under strain and BREXIT is spiraling towards a ‘no deal’ with huge financial implications for UK taxpayers. As soon as I open social media, there is no shortage of opinion available on all these subjects. I am quick to judge; I want to decide disputes and let people know exactly why I think they are wrong. It’s exhausting, but the above verse spoke to my frustrated and weary heart. The passage goes on: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid.”

I will never forget attending the funeral of a close family member during my first year of seminary, a devout Catholic man who tried his best. Ultimately, though, he made the lives of people close to me very difficult and painful. While sitting in the service listening to the priest talk, I realized that this relative whom I had found it impossible to love was deeply loved by God. The consequence of this realization: I knew in those moments that I would see him again and, worse still, I would spend eternity with him in the new and perfect world. It was an agonizing, faith-changing moment.

The wolf lying with the lamb; the bully tending the victim; the Democrat dancing with the Republican; the ‘Brexiteer’ embracing the ‘Remainer;’ the keyboard warrior feeding the campaigner; my relative greeting me in the new creation; the calf, lion and fatling being led by a little child; believers of all shapes and sizes, weak and powerful, liberal and conservative, “wrong” and “right,” cherished and belittled, treasured and lost: all of these beloved, known and our souls’ eternal companions.

This is our faith.

I’m spending these days trying to remember that not one of us has it all right. When I read posts on Facebook from Christian friends that irk or irritate, well... These friends are with me for eternity and I’m building relationships for the long haul. None of us are better than another, but by the Spirit, we might truly love God and our neighbor.

A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, give us a heart after your own, a mind that shares a fraction of your clarity and eyes to see people as you see them. Amen.
The Rev. Jane P. Ferguson
Associate for Liturgy, Student Ministries and Outreach
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