A.W. Tozer wrote: “We cannot pray in love and live in hate and still think we are worshiping God.”
The President of the United Church of Christ, Rev. John Dorhauer said: “We are faced with a moral crisis as a country. Not a border crisis or a national emergency, but a moral crisis.”
Part of the task of faith is recognizing the gap between our ways and the ways of God. We all know that we are imperfect and make mistakes. The point, however, is to acknowledge our imperfection and learn from our mistakes in order to build a world that closes that gap; a world more reflective of the Kingdom of God.
What seems to be happening, however, is that we are widening the gap. We are accentuating and increasing the distance between heaven and earth; the ways of God and the ways of the world.
We, as a society, still “pray in love.” We still say the right things about the greatness of our country. But there is a dramatic increase in our hateful ways of living. The worst of who we are–the inclination to tear others down, to separate people out, to exclude instead include, to mock instead of empower–have become mainstream. And a noticeable dissonance occurs between how we pray, what we say, and how we actually live.
Hate is easy. Love takes work. The “moral crisis” that is upon us is the result of our abandonment of the cornerstone Christian idea that God dwells in everyone; even the person we despise. If we’re honest, we’ve never really liked that idea in the first place because it requires something of us. It requires the work of love. It is far easier to embrace the idea that God dwells only in me and people like me. We have, however, chosen this easier path of late. The path that leads to hate.
The solution, I feel, starts with a return to “praying in love.” It starts with remembering who we are, the one to whom we belong, and embracing the utter inclusivity of God’s love. It starts with acknowledging that we fall short of this divine perfection and probably always will. But at least we can try. We can try to look at the person who is, in so many ways, the opposite of us and find a glimmer of ourselves in them if not a glimmer of God. We can try to celebrate more than bully. We can push back against hate and embark on the more challenging road of love.
In short, we can remember our better selves and live from that place which is born of holiness and hope; forgiveness and possibility.
We can live our lives and organize our society in such a way that we close the gap.
See you in church,