Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…  

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

I have been watching my share of nature videos on Facebook lately. Most of them are out of Africa and many of them are hard to watch. The natural world is harsh, every critter is hungry and looking for prey. I feel very badly for the poor gazelles or baby water buffaloes who find themselves surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. The hyenas are a menace and the Komodo dragon video could give you nightmares. In the great migration of the wildebeest and the zebra, large herds have to cross great rivers as crocodiles look to devour them. It is a dog-eat-dog world, where the fittest tend to survive and the most vulnerable end up being an entree. In general, if the other animal does not look like you, then they are probably looking to eat you. It is best and safest to keep yourself distanced from unfamiliar creatures and to surround yourself with a homogeneous community.

Human beings, created in the image of God, should aspire to a higher more civilized calling. I think that is it is safe to say that God is still working on us. If we look back at human history there has been a long arc of evolution. There was a good reason for our ancestors to be tribal. People from other tribes might very well be dangerous. If you saw a Viking long-ship coming down the river it was probably a good idea to hightail it into the hills. The Native Americans who kept their distance and refused to accept warm blankets infected with smallpox tended to fare better. Sorority co-eds who recognized the danger of a fraternity blazer conceived fewer babies than those who did not.

God’s still working on us. Most of the reasons for tribalism are no longer relevant. We probably don’t need to run if we see a Viking long-ship. In fact, I am told that they offer a very fine river cruise experience. The Romans are not looking to enslave us, and most religious movements in the world wish God’s Shalom on all people. The world is smaller and more interconnected than ever. Our communities become less homogeneous every year. The schools where our children learn are attended by children of a variety of races, speaking a wide range of languages. There is no reason for us to fear people of color; we are not being threatened by the gay and lesbian community; the Muslim presents no danger to us; but if you see a hyena, run!

God is still working on us. We are seeking to overcome thousands of years of tribalism. The good news: we are making progress. The progress might seem slow but in reality, things are changing at the speed of light. The progress might be painful, but most progress is painful. The progress might make us uncomfortable, but the alternative is to try to cross rivers filled with crocodiles.

God is still working on us, to make us more connected, more human, more like Jesus. May we work with God for a better, more inclusive, more highly evolved world. We owe our children and grandchildren that. Progress is hard, but I am glad that God has not given up on us. God is still working on us.

One day closer.

Much love,

Pastor Jim

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