The early Church shared all things in common; but, the Church in North America remains stingy and divided, only willing to see our differences (Acts 2.44). One community: in Christ. One confession: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4.5). Still, the divisions seem to intensify as the Bible is politicized and the people we have been called to serve are increasingly demonized.
Questions like “What would Jesus do?” and “Who is my neighbor?” are harder to answer without starting an argument. While Jesus’ story and subsequent record are clear, our explanations often are not. It’s complicated by a national narrative that continues to keep its citizens in conflict. But, living as Christ did and calls his disciples to doesn’t just lead us to church on Sunday mornings.
Instead, he leads us into places and among people we are called to love but whom the current administration of American government and its leaders prejudice as dangerous and a threat, who argue that their presence attacks and eats away at the very fabric of American life. But, things seem to be unraveling. It feels that we are hanging on by a thread and on the verge of chaos.
Chaos or community, these were the two options offered by civil rights leader and preacher, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the nations rage and the kingdoms totter, every tribe is for themselves. Moving farther apart, we know the answer to the questions. We know what Jesus would do because of what Jesus has done. And in a nation that prides itself on individualism and independence, we know how to love ourselves if no one else. The problem lies in seeing our neighbor as ourselves.
Because this would require the acceptance that we are all neighbors, all tenants and not the owners of the earth we pretend to be.