How can we operate without this perplexing paradigm?
Everything divisible by two;
us v. them –
good v. evil –
capitalist v. communist –
labour v. management.
even Scripture offers a divisive description in its opening verses:
The light from the darkness
– the ground from the sky –
the water and the dry land
all set apart from one another,
and declared “good” by the force that
created and divided them.
But was the division good,
or was it good that all had (finally)
assumed the perfection first imagined
as separate pieces of a greater puzzle?
Nowhere does Scripture pronounce
a stand-alone ingredient of creation “good”
– in fact, when finally God rests and sees
the whole of God’s creative efforts
(so the story goes)
the entirety was “tov m`od” – very good.
Thus at first blush it seems
that only in completeness
does creation earn this highest word of praise.
And all our efforts to separate
fact from fiction; good from evil; us from them –
all forms of division and distinction are, in fact,
an affront to the created order.
When Jesus says,
with no small measure of style,
“the last shall be first … the head (of you) must serve the rest” –
our penchant for division once more rears its ugly head.
Paul puts a finer point on it –
the meaner parts of the body are treated with special care –
their modesty preserved –
for what honours one, honours the whole,
and what harms one, harms all.
Jesus, who calls children from parents,
and dares us to dance a dangerous step after his example,
does so understanding that all have one father –
that all are one household.
Connectedness and community are the common bond of Christ.
The lost are not disdained, but welcomed home.
The sick are not cast out, but loved into wholeness
those cast out by our mis-apprehension of the way things are,
stand as the foundation of the way things should be.
How then shall we here these words –
that call us to decide which side we’re on?
Is this a calling apart;
to stand alone against the force that all creation has become,
or, instead, a re-creation –
reintegrating various and sundry parts
of that which God once called a masterpiece?
Our several opinions on the matter –
well-reasoned and articulate though they may be –
offer us no satisfaction,
forcing us apart across any number of imaginary boundaries.
Our determination to make those feats of our imagination real
is all that keeps us apart –
for we are of the same stuff, you and I – us and them.
The differences in our application
cannot disguise the similarities in our manufacture.
It is futile to deny
that even our arguments mark us as kin.
Our desire to stand out in a crowd –
to master our own destiny –
all stuff and nonsense, as time will surely tell.
God is calling us together –
in spite of ourselves – for the sake of us all –
in faith (in spite of faith)
to once again declare in truth,
the whole thing “Very good!”
New Glasgow – Oct 16, 2009 – Pentecost 20