Your church can help heal divisions by addressing your community’s pain. Your church’s works of justice and mercy have never been more important.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. – Psalm 133:1-2 (NIV)
Our country is deeply fractured. Division has reached the point that we view those who differ from us not as compatriots but as people who live in a different country, a country we would not want to live in.
In protests and counter-protests, on social media and our choice of news, our fractures entrench themselves. Even basic public-health guidance has become a flashpoint. We have moved beyond the point where a return to “normal” can be achieved by symbolic gestures or speeches or prayer-vigils. The divisions among us can only be resolved by real, substantive change.
And thank God.
When tens of millions are unemployed and yet the stock market soars, things must change. When policing methods continue to brutalize Black and brown people, things must change. When more than a hundred and fifty thousand people die from a preventable illness, things must change.
And your church can be part of changing things for the better. Your church can help heal the divisions in your community by addressing your community’s pain. Your church’s works of justice and mercy have never been more important. Can you imagine what beautiful, healing work hundreds of thousands of faithful Christians might accomplish? Systems of oppression named and dismantled. Educational disparities acknowledged and addressed. Hunger revealed and alleviated.
It would be like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
God, may we be the anointing the world needs.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.