In light of what has been happening in our nation and also in our world, The first few sentences of Paul’s Letter to the Church at Ephesus is pertinent in my walk with Christ this week and in the weeks in the immediate future.
4″ I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Scholars think that St Paul wrote this letter to the community of believers at Ephesus while he was in prison. Scholars also think that Paul was imprisoned in Rom for approximately two years . I imagine that Paul had a lot of time on his hands while he sat in that cell. Unlike me, Paul used his down time wisely.
This part of Paul’s letter seems to encourage the readers to maintain unity within their own community , as well as remind his audience that the Way Of Christ involved such traits as humility, gentleness, patience, love and peace. That advice, written to a Christian community so long ago in a different place; has merit now. There is no doubt in my mind that we live in a scary time in history; and many people are taking to social media, letters to the local newspaper, and cartoons to express their anger. But Paul reminds me here that Christians are not to return hate for hate. His words: there is one Body, and one Spirit… one LORD one faith, one baptism and one God…Who is above all and through all and in all”
I am as frightened as the next person about the direction where our nation and world is going. Yet St Paul reminds me that it isn’t Christ like to return hate with more hate. Furthermore, hateful behavior towards the haters will only fuel their zeal for their cause. I am not saying that we Christians need to ignore what is happening right now. Rather I suggest that we seek out ways to BE Christ’s Hands and Feet in there here and now.
Fulfilling a desire to ” punch the Nazis in the face” will not change their message. Daily I challenge myself to refrain from posting nasty counter-Nazi memes on Facebook and think of ways that I can be an instrument of God’s Peace in my parish Diocese, city, state , nation and world.
Believe me I know how hard this idea is to put into practice, and I do NOT know what the long-term solution to dealing with militant hatred will be. I know that the collective anger that I both exhibited and now see in others has got to be replaced by loving service and joining together to work to eradicate racism. This will not be easy work, but if enough of us dedicate ourselves to ending racism we will prevail. In my anger, I had lost the HOPE that we all have in Christ. By toning down my rhetoric and speaking with others about how we can work towards ending racism; I have found peace in this mess of a society that we live in right now.
Also, I know that since I quit spreading hate to the haters via social media; I’ve been more at peace with myself . While I am not keeping totally silent on the issues; I choose to discuss and hopefully implement solutions to he problem of race and bigotry in our society.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen.