"The Liberty Song" was written by John Dickinson in 1768. In it is a line that reads: "Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall."
We use the term “united” in several of our cultural and social identities.
United States of America.
I don’t know about you but it doesn’t feel particularly “united” right now.
If I spend any amount of time scrolling through social media or watching or reading the news, I see a country being divided by a virus.
Us versus them.
More specifically, mask wearers versus non mask wearers. Supporters of staying at home versus those that want to open our country back up. Those who support our President and our Governor versus those who blame our President and our Governor. The haves versus the have-nots.
To complicate matters social media and mainstream media outlets bombard us with seemingly conflicting information. Scientists and experts struggle to agree and that leaves us dividing ourselves into camps often right fighting our way through conversations.
Our scripture reading today from Jude reminds us that there are and will be people who divide us.
There always have and always will be.
Jesus was a victim of this exact type of calculated campaign. Remember he was greeted into Jerusalem with crowds screaming “Hosanna”. In a week’s time, the religious leaders had divided his followers so deeply that they were soon chanting crucify him as he stood before them facing possible death. One weak was all it took. We’ve had months to be divided.
The answer to being united and not divided is found in our scripture reading today as well. The author of Jude continues to say those who seek to divide “follow mere natural instincts and do not have the spirit.”
If we want to remain united, therefore, we have to follow divine instincts rather than our human instincts. Among many things that means we have seek out God’s will-things such as seeking God in relationship serving the least of these, and loving our neighbor.
We also have to be filled with the spirit. How do you know if you are being filled with the spirit and not negativity and division from external sources? Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I don’t know about you but I’m not seeing much love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in our attitudes towards those that disagree with us on social media or on the news cycles.
I don’t mean to imply that truth doesn’t exist but simply that we also have to accept the existence of nuance in all situations and that the world is not black and white and grace exists in the gray areas of our beliefs and ideas.
I pray you find ways to re-center this week through scripture reading, spending time with God in prayer. Rumi has this great quote that says “There is a voice that doesn't use words, listen.” Have you sought out some silence amongst all the noise lately? What is God trying to tell you in that silence?
May we be able to join our proverbial hands together as John Dickinson wrote almost 250 years ago so that we may remain united together against a common challenge which constantly threatens our safety, comfort, and health. If we don’t, we will surely find ourselves being pushed into “dividing we fall” together.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
We are meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall.
Join us on the Second Sunday of every month for good food and good fellowship.
Military Appreciation Breakfast
Third Saturday of the month, 8 a.m.:
Veterans and Active Military and their Significant Others, join us for a hearty breakfast as we share our appreciation for your service.
United Methodist Women Monthly Meeting:
Third Thursday of every month: October 21, November 18, and December 16.
United Methodist Men's Monthly Breakfast:
*Postponed Until Further Notice
Tuesday: 8-12 am
Wednesday: 8-11 am
Thursday: 8-11 am
La Junta United Methodist Church
601 San Juan Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Phone: (719) 384-7717
Facebook: La Junta United Methodist Church
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