Giving Up: Enemies

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 19:37-44.

Sometime last week Andrew and I stumbled upon a showing of “Miss Congeniality” on network television. I am a big fan of Sandra Bullock; so, of course, we watched the movie. The film occurs at a national scholarship program *cough* beauty pageant *cough* that includes evening wear, swim wear, talent, and interview competitions. The irony of the interview competition is that no matter the question – no matter the respondent – the correct answer is “world peace.”

Reminds me of when I taught Children’s Sunday School and no matter the question – no matter the respondent the correct answer was “Jesus, God, prayer, church, share!”

(You know it’s true…)

Whenever my 10th grade History Teacher – Mr. Hinthorne – would introduce a new (past) global skirmish in his lectures he would name the groups involved and then ask, “Why can’t we all just get along?” It took my class quite sometime to realize his question was rhetorical…and oh so profound.

Getting along is a part of peace; it is a building block in the peace process. Jesus accuses Jerusalem of disregarding this building block. We heard it – we can imagine it – peoples from different places and circumstances uniting their voices in praise of the Messiah. But the praise is quickly muted by the grumbling of the Pharisees telling Jesus to subdue his followers into silence. This grumbling on Palm Sunday will end in Jesus’ groaning in his Passion. He will bear on his body how the people that surrounded him on Palm Sunday chose a way other than peace.

When we get along, when we participate in peacemaking – not just with those that we already get along with, but with folks that we are different from – we participate in creating unity, harmony, safety, and prosperity. When we participate in peacemaking we continue following the path the Prince of Peace lays before us and we bear the fruit – we show the evidence – of our salvation in Christ.

Getting along is an act I practice by

  1. Talking less and listening more.
  2. Truly listening rather than listening to prepare a response.
  3. Finding ways to walk alongside folks from a variety of life experiences through conversation, non-fiction reading, documentaries, and more.
  4. Making the first move to seek forgiveness and reconcile.

We are a people meant for peace. We are disciples of the Prince of Peace. And I think, on the whole, people would like there to be – we hope for there to be – peace. But do we think that peace is achievable? Is peace just a wish or can peace be our reality?

Peace can be our reality if we apply ourselves to acts of peacemaking. Mr. Hinthorne was right – it all starts with getting along. It is a big task, but we are more than capable. God calls us to this work and provides us with the strength and courage to complete it.

Prayer: “For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.”* Amen.

*”Ah, Holy Jesus,” The United Methodist Hymnal 289.

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