One of my favorite Christmas carols is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," mainly because I like that last verse about "God is not dead nor doth he sleep." But, after hanging out on facebook for a little while, I'm stuck in an earlier verse..."Then in despair, I bowed my head. "There is no peace on earth," I said, "for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men."
If the terrorist intent is to divide the rest of us, they are doing a fine job. Quite frankly, we ought to be ashamed.
I have seen such ugly things posted and re-posted. I have seen ugly comments between "friends." I've seen the media spin stories - with little regard for truth, it seems to me - to appeal to their viewership or their readership or whatever. It feels like we've lost all decency...not to mention integrity. It feels like the "sides" are using great tragedy to benefit themselves...and that is shameful. Are we even capable of feeling shame anymore? Are we even capable of feeling embarrassment? Are we even capable of recognizing our own participation in "mocking the song of peace on earth, good will to men"? Or, are we mainly interested in being right and making our point?
I don't know. I don't mean to post something so negative. I guess that today, I felt overwhelmed with the heartlessness I believe I am witnessing. I just cannot believe some of the things that are being written and spoken. Today, I feel as though we are so far away from the higher good that faith calls us to. In fact, I feel as though we are not interested in the higher good. We are content to wallow in the basest parts of human nature. In essence, we are content to let terrorism define how we feel and how we treat each other, and that just makes me sad.
As soon as we can define someone as a "liberal" or a "conservative" or a Republican or a Democrat - and we are doing this constantly in response to the terrorist attacks, I guess, because it makes us feel like we have some control if we can name who we don't like and who we ought to blame - as soon as we can stick a label on another person, they cease to be a person - they are a category - either a friend or foe. And, we are getting into trouble with that. People are getting angrier and angrier and meaner and meaner and we cannot find any common ground.
Somebody needs to do something.
Somebody needs to demonstrate a better way.
Somebody needs to "fear not" and "behold the good tidings of great joy which shall be for ALL people."
That somebody is us.
I don't know how to do it - but I am going to start by being careful about what I post. I am going to start by praying for people I don't like and with whom I disagree. I am going to start by reviewing my day every day and assessing where I've participated in "mocking the song of peace on earth." Then, I am going to ask for forgiveness and I am going to do better. I am going to put my trust in God and believe that Jesus was serious about loving God and loving neighbor. I am going to read a gospel - probably Matthew - to see if I can jog my memory as to what Jesus actually said about enemies and strangers and peace and friends and God and all that stuff. I'm not relying on someone else's editorial to do that for me - I'm relying on the Holy Spirit and my genuine effort.
I can't fix the world, but I can improve my corner of it. I will not let my faith be defined by fear or anger.