Bob Dylan sang, back in the 1960s and '70s, "The Times, They Are A-Changin'." They were. Dramatically. Even more than we, living through them, realized.
We were younger then. It seemed OK to have these strange things, "blowing in the wind." We didn't really know what they were. We felt we could handle them, no matter what they were.
That all seems different now. We do not agree with our friends - and even family - what those currents in the air really are. When people speak of "our divided country," we know they refer to political tumult. To deep feelings felt by many about their country. But, we fear to be clear about what our concern is.
We sense hatred in the air. We sense a spirit of revenge. Of a wholesale spirit of shaming. Of getting back at others. Particularly, our leader. The process has an unclean feeling. It is a haunting atmosphere that invades our dreams, that hangs heavy in the back of our minds.
But, we keep it to ourselves. We dare not "talk it over." There are friends to lose. People we cherish. Family members we dare not risk losing.
So, we turn inward in our anxiety. A kind of darkness pervades. We pray. Oh, we DO pray. For our country. For our President. For ourselves.
We do want God's Way. We do want the way of Peace. We want reconciliation, personally. And, for the land we love. Our very "Congregational way" challenges us to such unanimity through the Holy Spirit's leading. And His Way may not be our way. He may have a new way for us.
I know, in my soul, that the finding of reconciliation in America is the Church's business. Somehow, it is our task to find the way for reconciliation, through forgiveness, to come to the House, to the Senate, to the President, to the people.
And, I deeply believe, we are to be Americans. To be Pilgrim People willing to be on a journey in America. We are people given a vision. Following the Puritan's leader who said, "We are as a city set upon a hill, with the eyes of the world upon us." Our national life is to be lived for the sake of the world, and of our country. Where we are to dare to go to our knees, and to give our country and its leaders over to the God Who calls us to be a SERVANT NATION.
We are not to hate. Not to want or take revenge. We are to beg forgiveness for ourselves and for our leaders.
That has to mean BIG PRAYER. It has to mean an OPEN HEART. It has to mean turning to Jesus, day by day, minute by minute.
I dare us to be patriots who put our beloved country in the hands of the mighty God who came as Jesus to win by losing, to live by dying, showing the world the same, the way to NEW LIFE.
May we find peace in walking the sure way, with Jesus first, and with His people as our brothers and sisters - in these "parlous times."
Bless you - so dear to Him. And me.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES