Further up and Further in

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Here’s hearty and hardy question for us to ponder:

How can we make this the country the land we’ve been looking for all our life?

Do we really believe that the answer to that question is entirely dependent on who occupies the White House or who fills Congress?

I think that thinking that way is a cop out. There, I said it out loud. Are you still with me?

To say that the greatness of this country depends entirely on the White House or Congress denies our responsibility as citizens to make this place, in the here and now, in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, the best place to live for all people.

Our country is US, you and me and all of us together. We have the right and freedom to vote for who we choose and if you attempt to limit that right for others who think differently than you, you are putting your own rights and freedoms as risk.

Let’s stop thinking of ourselves as red and blue and remember that we are all human beings created in God’s image, called to follow Jesus in the Way of Love, letting the Holy Spirit transform us into compassionate people who look out for each other and the greater good. Yes, even if you don’t think of yourself as a Jesus Follower or a Christian, I believe with every cell of my being that every human being (yes, even ‘them’) is created by God in God’s image.

Once when Jesus’ disciples were complaining that some other folks were loving on and caring for people in the name of Jesus in a different way than the disciples thought they should, Jesus tells them, “whoever is not against us is for us.” Whenever we act compassionately toward others we are following Jesus, whether we claim we are or not. (I believe that it is the folks that spread hate and division because somewhere along their path they were taught or decided that they are worth more than others that are “against us” but I’d like to stick to the positive of spreading love.)

Seeing other people through the lens of compassion, treating others with the same dignity and respect we want to receive, and just choosing to be kind are the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love. The more we give this kind of Love, the more and more we have to give. That’s how genuine love works.

Yes, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic (is that redundant, I’m not sure), the aftermath of a heated election, and the tantrums of our national leadership (add to this all of your personal and family struggles), we stand in the sure and confident hope that God is with us and loves us.

And we are called to follow Jesus into the world (even as we physical distance and wear our masks) to share God’s love with others in any and every way we can. In a world of unavoidable change we know that this never changes.

In a world of unbearable uncertainty we know that God’s love for everyone is certain and unshakeable.

So, instead of labeling other people’s behavior as left or right or liberal or conservative, let’s ask ourselves “am I loving my neighbor?” Treating all people with dignity and compassion isn’t a red or blue thing or a left or right thing. It is a God’s Kingdom thing.

God’s peace,
Mtr. Nancy+

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