Division and Despair

In these times of stress, snark, division and despair, 
I still suspect that two of the most important features we possess 
are imagination and a capacity for goodness. 
Those are qualities for which we will be remembered most fondly.
Geoffrey S. Fletcher
 
Last Sunday in the lectionary we heard the story of Hagar and Ishmael being sent away by Abraham. Abraham sent them into the desert at the request of Sarah. Even though Ishmael was Abraham's son, as Isaac was his son, according to the ancient culture the eldest son would be the heir. To ensure that Isaac would be the heir of Abraham, Ishmael had to be sent away, either to die in the desert, or be forgotten as a son of Abraham. 
 
However, both mothers and Abraham were promised that these two young lads would lead great nations. And indeed both sons did lead great nations. Ishmael became the father of the Arab nations and Isaac became the father of the Jewish nations. The families both placed their faith in speaking with, and hearing from, the same God. But neither of the families seemed to honor the other family. Maybe it was greed. Maybe it was jealousy. But early in history these two nations were separated and pitted against one another. With the birth of Christianity, yet another faith entered the picture and found it necessary to separate faith traditions. It is really no different within the Christian tradition, with many denominations. We have found ways to separate instead of work together.
 
One would like to think that over the years faith traditions would have found ways to live together, finding common ground. But instead, we have continued to complicate our relationships. As Christians, we label our brothers and sisters of the of the Jewish and Islam faiths by their actions instead of honoring their faith. But isn't it true there are many people who claim to be Christian whose actions do not match the faith we profess?
 
The quote above reminds us that we have the ability to rise above separation. We do possess imagination and a capacity for goodness, because our faith requires us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. My hope is that in a world where we are being encouraged to divide and conquer that we will stand strong and have faith in God's ability to work through our imagination and goodness. As we read the paper, listen to the radio and TV, encounter people of different faith or no faith, let us find ways that we will let our faith lead us to unite instead of divide, to embrace instead of reject, ask questions instead of pass judgment, and pray for guidance in how to live in a world struggling with stress, snark, division, and despair.
~ Eldonna Hazen

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 9:32 am in Featured Content.

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