I wonder what that great New Testament preacher, St. Paul the Apostle would preach to us here in America after listening and watching and reading all about the splintering and arming of the different camps we have managed to create here?
“You began by God’s spirit. Do you now want to finish by your own power?” Words spoken by St Paul to the church at Galatia two millenia ago. He could be standing in our world, just about anywhere I should think, especially in our country and be shouting them to all who are within the sound of his voice.
I can see him, his hair a bit unruly, wisps of it fluttering and flying when he flails his arms about to get his point across. His words would be said in a voice that could be heard in the farthest reaches of whatever hall or building or street corner he would be talking from. St. Paul always sounds to me like he is much more at home with the fire and brimstone preachers of my childhood than with those incredibly beautiful passages on love he wrote to the Corinthians. Same man, just a different facet.
Those words to Galatia ring true to America. Too many of our fellow Americans are firmly convinced that they can do it by their own power. Which they believe to be superior to any other in the universe.
In the book of the Wisdom of Solomon, this wisest of Israels kings says “the God who breathed into him an active soul and a living spirit”.(Wisdom: 15, 11) In another passage from the Book of Psalms it says God’s Spirit “put me together in my mother’s womb, when my bones were being formed, carefully knit together, when I was growing in secret, You knew I was there—you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book before any of them ever began” (Psalm 139; 13, 15-16)
It is not us mere, puny humans with outsized egos and our bombastic expression of such that can extend one tiny second of our life span. Truth. Reality. So, what is it for us to do then? Simple really. The Spiritual Imperative is this—to offer love.
Everyone, even the worst of us, was formed in the womb by the Spirit of God. This world and every human being in it is created by God. Every person has the Spirit of God in them, an innate, not to be removed or dislodged part of them.
It is my part to look deeply and respond in love to Gods spirit in them. I may not be able to be around them, I can acknowledge that God Spirit dwells and created them.
No newborn decides to be evil. Evil pursues and attempts it best to cover them and turn them away from that God Spirit in them as the child lives and grows in this world.
We mere humans sometimes get frightened into thinking evil is stronger, more fierce that God. It is all smoke and mirrors, from the devil himself; it is maneuvering directly from his own fear of God. Remember, he was in Heaven with God before he fell. He knows exactly what God is and can do. He must have some one with him in his exile from God, so he does his best to cover up the God part of our soul. It is just fancy lies from the father of all lies.
He is small and fear-filled in the presence of that God part we have in us. Poor Lucifer, he does go on a bit now doesn’t he?
So, here we are, in America in the midst of this so-called polarizing and dividing of us into camps of kids shouting and throwing stones at the other camp. The truth is not in either side, the truth is in the God Spirit within each of us. No amount of explaining or excusing or rationalizing will ever make a wrong right. No amount of shouting and accusing will every make any of us feel righteous. Because as St. Paul said, what was begun by the Spirit of God cannot be completed by the creature.
If we loved, truly loved the woman who finds herself pregnant and terrified she would not fall for the lie that she can destroy it and not be effected forever. If we loved the illegals swarming across our borders we might find out what is making them leave their families, their homes, their whole life to break a law so blatantly. Once we understand why, then we can actually do something about the reason they are leaving their own country. That could be the new frontier, the sending and being the help at the root of the problem, not just at the visible part of the problem. If we loved each other, the political labels would fall away like dew in the sun. None of us are a label, we are all unique and wonderful one-of-a-kind creations. So many more of these divisions just need a view through the clarity of love.
God has got this. He has the solution, the answer, the great healing answer to all of this. Our call, our job, our commission is to love each other. Maybe that one small but most difficult thing will change just one person’s reaction or attitude just for today.
Now, can’t you see Paul, huffing and puffing at us and maybe even raising his voice a bit louder, that because we must be very hard of hearing or we would have gotten it already; to say to us “There is only one Lord, one Way, one Savior for us all” He would be pacing back and forth, punctuating each of those ‘ones’ with an arm going up.
In my mind he is a flaming red-head, almost bombastic in his preaching but with an incredible understanding and from that understanding loves flows. In all his letters to all the newly formed churches, he may chastise and call them to task, but he always makes sure they know how much he loves them. Oh, St. Paul, pray for this sweet country of mine. Pray that we get. Amen Paul, Amen!