Year A - Pentecost +10 or Community Practice 10
August 17, 2014
It is good when we have a spot of unity in the midst of our many differences. A question is whether that unity is large enough to hold us together. Our track record is that our differences are stronger than our unity. As a result separation is always adversarial.
Sometimes we claim that we are after an amicable separation so the differences might each be able to thrive in a way not currently possible as they tussle with each other for power and control of some magic 51% to impose their difference on another. This is particularly hypocritical when one of the differences is that of being able to hurt through discrimination another person or group of persons.
Unity is a good goal but mostly we have ways of trying to adjust to our differences by claiming we have a lock on the unity mechanism. If only those others would see things our way we would be unified.
The United Methodist Church is currently facing an “amicable separation” fiasco where every plan put forward by the religious right to separate has one fatal flaw. Whenever the concept of harm to another enters the conversation all their fine rhetoric and imagined processes fall apart. The separation then is seen for the issue of power and privilege that it is. This is evidence that the church is not unified regarding the presence of G*D in Jesus’ teachings. Without the keys of “this is how others will know you are my disciples: how you love one another” and “have you not learned G*D wants mercy for neighbors, not sacrifice”. As long as every other spot of agreement falls when these are not present, unity is not really on the agenda.
It is not hard to identify that the hard spot of unity is love and mercy in a world where people are hard to love and our desire to be justified is more satisfying than the work of mercy.
In parallel to Sweet Honey in the Rock's song about Greed, I’ve been wondering how I can talk about mercy, sing about mercy, live within mercy. Do you have any report from your own experience about living mercifully in a context where there are people who will never love you and who desire your destruction?