For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
- John 5:1-11 (excerpt)
It seems popular in our culture to declare an enemy and use warlike language: “take America back”, “don’t try to take my ____; “ “we’ve had enough “. This is in political rhetoric, in our neighborhoods, and in the Church even worse. You hear it in conversations on race relations, on economics, gender, and of course, when we talk about the gender of someone’s life partner.
It seems easier to function under the false notion that there is an “us” and there is a “them”. As Christians, we are not immune from this; we seem to thrive on it, frankly. We decry the use of the word enemy, of course: “I have nothing against __________; I love my ______ friends dearly. But when they ______, I know I need to stand firm.” As a Christian, I believe our call is to bring God’s will to Earth as in Heaven. For me this means REALLY tearing down walls that divide humanity, not to conquer people but to make REAL community with them. The walls start inside us. It’s hard staying in meaningful relationship with “them” ( I don’t even say or think the word “them”; it’s deeper and more hidden ). But let’s tell it like it is: we are still weak; we are still sinners; we are still enemies to God and to one another. How dare we boast? Will I only be in communion with my God and with people who look, think, act or pray like me? Or will I live as though “God’s love has been poured into (my) heart through the Holy Spirit”?
My God, I mock you when I ignore or fight with the human children you created. Give me courage that while I still am weak, a sinner, an enemy, I can see there is no “them” in your creation; there is only us and You.
Ed Bird is co-moderator of McCormick’s Student Session, and on track for ordination as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.]]>