Ephesians 2:13-14, 4:1-3 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus . . . For Christ himself has brought peace to us. . . I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Laughter feels so good, doesn’t it? I laughed this morning, watching this recording of the Braver Angels theme song:
In case you’re confused: they started as Better Angels, taken from a speech by Abraham Lincoln, but someone else had already claimed that name, so they switched to Braver Angels. Believing people basically want the same things despite their political affiliations, or should at least be able to talk with each other, they are working hard to bridge the divide that separates people in our present rancorous environment.
I’ve had the experience—maybe you have too?—of feeling deeply hurt by people I love who have attacked me or attacked other people I love because of something said touching politics. The attacks came with what feels more like hatred than love. Hatred is a strong word, but that’s how it has felt—that our friendship could be destroyed by a single statement of political preference or even curiosity.
These are Christian friends. How is it possible that our unity in Christ, rooted in common membership in the eternal Kingdom, can be so vulnerable to emotions connected to temporal, temporary realities? Because in the long run—in eternity—who wins this election in this country (we forget how small a part we are of the history of the world!) won’t matter in the least. But whether I have broken relationships with brothers and sisters will matter, both now and in the future.
So I’m challenged by these words written by Paul almost two thousand years ago, Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Part of what this means to me is realizing how much our unity matters to our Lord, and being willing to do the hard work of letting the hurt go, forgiving, cherishing all I have in common with these beloved ones, and building bridges instead of walls.
Braver Angels helps by giving me perspective and giving me tools for building those bridges. Though there are many Christians involved with BA, it is a secular organization. Jesus prayed just before he was betrayed and arrested, May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:23). Can we in the Body of Christ, called to unity, do any less?