On this Veteran’s Day, let us take a moment to remember all those who are serving in our armed forces, both here and abroad. Also, let us remember those who have served in previous years. The women and men who put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf are to be honored and respected for their willingness to be on the front lines of whatever aggression might be directed at us. We are eternally grateful for their sacrifices which are made to keep us safe and secure.
The country we live in has just been through a tumultuous election cycle, lots of division, and anger, and suspicions, and hurtful rhetoric. We are stronger for our ability to openly voice our concerns and our disagreements. There comes a time, though, when we have to put aside our differences and come together for the common good. For those who feel they lost in this recent election, its hard to set aside disappointment and not express anger at those who feel they’ve won.. For those who feel they won in the election, its hard to not swell with pride and let that affect the way you treat those on the other side.
As those who follow Jesus, those who are travelers on The Way, we are called to a different standard. We are called to make peace and live in harmony with one another. The Apostle Paul in writing to his Corinthian brothers and sisters, Paul seeks to bring a sense of reconciliation amidst a festering division among the people. In 2 Corinthians 13: 11 Paul writes, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” Paul’s concern is that those who follow Jesus understand Jesus sought to bring harmony and love among all the people. Jesus’ message was one of love, not strife or division. Paul wants the Corinthians to seek to live in peace, restoring their relationships with one another.
As Christ followers, we too are encouraged to seek peace in our relationships. Unity is a theme we should all be promoting. Unity does not mean we don’t have differing opinions. Unity does not mean we all agree on everything that affects us. Unity does not mean each person simply falls in line with the majority. What unity does mean is, when decisions are made, when elections are over, we all put aside whatever division is among us and support our country and all its people.
I won’t pretend this is easy to do. I won’t pretend that there aren’t lingering animosities. I won’t pretend deep disagreements don’t exist. I have a very close friend who is the polar opposite of me on the socio-political spectrum. We value our friendship, more than we value the things that divide us. Do we argue for our perspective, YES! Do we defend our positions, YES! When we get together, we also find we really have more in common that we have that divides us. Our affection for one another, the long-standing friendship we have developed over the years, takes precedence over any disagreements. We are united in our love for Jesus Christ, and in the expressing of Christian love toward one another.
As we celebrate this Veteran’s Day, I implore each of us to look deep within ourselves and seek unity with our sisters and brothers in these UNITED States. Unity will serve us beyond any election cycle or any party affiliation. There truly is more that unites us than divides us.
Your fellow traveler on The Way,