July 5

“Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”  Zechariah 7:10

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3:14

Yesterday we celebrated American independence.  Declaring independence did not make it so. We had to fight and win battles to prove ourselves.  This week is also a remembrance of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg.  Eighty-seven years after declaring that all [men] are created equal, with certain inalienable rights, we continued battling … this time amongst ourselves, to establish whether – or not – all human beings should be indeed equal and free. 

One hundred five years after Gettysburg, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, still battling for equality and basic freedoms for his race.  You may recall the story of Iowa school teacher Jane Elliott.  Just after King’s death, she introduced her classroom to the dynamics of prejudice.  She separated the blue-eyed students from those with brown or green eyes.  She began denouncing the blue-eyed students as dirty, lazy and less intelligent.  The brown-eyed children responded almost instantly, bullying their classmates with blue eyes.  When Elliott reversed the exercise, the students with blue eyes berated those with brown eyes, taking advantage of their newfound power. 

Fifty years since, we are still fighting battles, fussing about and fearing color, language, religion.  If not with sticks and stones (in some places the case), with words and they surely can hurt.  Since the beginning of recorded history there have been divisions and prejudices, a race for wealth and power, greed and oppression. The second great commandment, love your neighbor as yourself, treat others as you would be treated, appears simply too much to ask.  We pray that the Holy Spirit will work in our hearts, clothe us in love, and bind us together.

“Love, love, love, love –

Christians, this is our call.

Love our neighbors as ourselves For God loves us all.”  Amen  

(prayer text – Ralph Johnson

Verla Olson