I didn’t sleep that well Tuesday night. Foolishly I went to bed mad that our leaders did not seem to be able to get along and work things out. Like you, I was mad that people are inconvenienced, or government workers are paid without working, and that we were playing with the dynamite of default. As I tossed and turned I kept telling myself to trust in God, trust in God, trust in God… Eventually I dozed off.
Now we can each blame our least favorite politicians, but the greater question is how to build a society where people can play together in God’s sandbox. To build a society where people of different views can listen, understand, speak clearly, and what today feels like proof of the very existence of God, compromise.
I suggest that the church is God’s favorite place to teach that. In I Corinthians 12 Paul calls a factionalized people to work together as the body of Christ. Paul deliberately lifts up folks who were less valued in Corinth and tells them the church body cannot work without them, like our private parts that are indispensible (v. 23). Indeed no body could work if the left foot always and only went left and the right foot went right.
I saw that last Sunday in North Branch’s participation in the “national conversation on race.” I watched people ask tough questions of our African American panelist, and I enjoyed the dialogue that emerged. And when one person was not satisfied with the dialogue, I watched the two of them wrestle with race together for another 30 minutes after class.
And this is not the first time that I’ve seen our church demonstrate how to have a national conversation on a divisive issue. We have done that on all of the tough issues of our time. That’s the body of Christ—where not everyone is an eye or foot (vv. 15, 16), but all viewpoints are valid and all people are valued.
Now I do not know if this national compromise that feels like proof of God’s existence will eventually result in a budget that can help to put our fiscal house in order. But if THAT happens, then we will know that Jesus still does miracles! But until then, in all of our lives, let’s offer what we do best within our own walls: a listening ear and a civil response. Understand and be understood for you are the body of Christ! Your thoughts?
Pastor Todd Buurstra