Strengthening numbers and strengthening spirits are the topic of all three readings for today. In Ecclesiasticus we find a rare tribute to the former leaders of the past, a thankfulness of the building layers of God’s grace to the people in the form of strong leaders who have built up the people in more than just wisdom, but in storytelling. In Revelation we see the growing forces for Armageddon. In Luke, Jesus tells two parables about growth.
I wish I could say I see a growing unity among us as Americans. I have not seen this level of racial divide, viotriol, and hatred as I see today in the USAmerican system. Politically and socially the divides are deeper than ever before.
It reminds me that we parents, teachers, and leaders have our work cut out for us in terms of coming together and providing our children with a vision of unity, peace, and true patriotism.
Just as President Obama endured death threats, so they come with our current election cycle, thinnly veiled as white nationalism. What are we teaching our children when people on camera proudly declare they are striving to murder current or future leaders? And how complacent we are as a people? Why are we not demanding these people be arrested and put in prison for their treason and terrorism?
We have utterly failed as parents, as leaders, and people of faith. There will be no hymns written about us, if this is what we produce. There will be no stories of growth of the church told about our generation, if this is whom we raise.
Today we see a vision from Revelation, when the forces of good gather up against us and wipe us out. God forbid that day. May we learn the art of growing and spreading the gospel of Christ. And this includes a spirit of coming together in difficult times. It means holding hands, not killing our neighbor. It means speaking out of love, rather than disgust.
When we come to realize that patriotism is more than just supporting the people that share our exact views, then we will come to a place of true growth as a nation. A shift like this in our thinking will also leave us open for God to leaven our hearts, work together, and seek out a greater church where Christ’s vision of growth for our lives and the lives of those around us truly has a chance.