Hopefully we can focus on what we have in common and the ideals that engender love, peace, honor and respect.
Is that really so difficult? If so, why is it?
We are a nation with a diverse population. We have people from nearly every culture in the world. If any group of people can tap those who understand and can explain how folks of different backgrounds and belief systems think about life, we should have a better chance than those of many other cultures.
There is no reason the demonize any person or culture. There is no reason to use violence and the threat of violence to control and oppress. We can make that all unacceptable without resorting to the use of force.
The main focus could be, "Would I want this to happen to me or to a member of my family?"
We could join together to find peaceful ways to prevent the violence, oppression and subjugation.
We say we stand for liberty, freedom and opportunities for everyone, but there are always forces that rise up against that and we must always be vigilant and work against those who seek out or succumb to those negative forces.
Peace is not just the absence of violence or battle or way. True peace means nothing missing, no sickness, no hunger, no homelessness, no one imprisoned or oppressed.
True peace is described in Isaiah 61 in the description of the Jubilee that Jesus came to read in Nazareth, the town in which He grew up. He came there and attended the synagogue deliberately on the day that passage was to be read according to the annual series set out according to the holy days and pertinent readings.
This was not a coincidence. After reading the passage from Torah, Jesus proclaimed to the people who had known him and his mother and father since they returned from exile to Egypt. They had traveled there and dwelt there in obedience to the angel who warned Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, that people in power sought Jesus' death.
So when He read the most important Messianic scripture to the people who knew him beat and had known Him the longest, He may have expected to be believed and celebrated.
Instead, there was outrage, and they rebuked Him for speaking the truth that the centuries-old prophecy about the righteous deliverer of God's justice, reconciliation and recompense was fulfilled by Him and through Him in their presence.
Those people who had known Him since He was a child were so upset and angry that they wanted to kill Jesus by throwing Him off a cliff.
In contrast to the way Jesus was able to heal and deliver people from illness and evil in many other cities, towns and villages, in Nazareth only a few people benefitted from His ministry. Because of the prevailing anger and outrage against Him, only several people had enough faith to receive His blessing.
The narration of this incident follows a very similar pattern that has been passed down over the centuries and sadly is still extant in the world and in our culture today.
But we can do better and we can stop the violence, hatred, intolerance and oppression. We have to have the heart to try. Reaching out to help those who suffer is the beginning. Sharing the unique characteristics of our cultures can also help.
We have so much to celebrate and so many ways help improve how people in need live. Instead of hoarding what we have, we can share what is in excess. We were not given more we need to keep it, but to pass it on to those in need.
Peace is not passive. We have to work at it because it is too important and to lose it puts everyone at risk.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you and yours, Beloved, now and always.
❤️ ❤️ ❤️