Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.30.20)

By this time next week we should (we hope) know who the Leader of the Free World will be for the next four years. I doubt that any of us is naive enough to think that deciding this issue will bring an end to the divisiveness that has beset our country for the past several years. If anything, once one “side” knows it has “won”, and the other “side” knows it has “lost”, the divisions will only deepen.

The only certain good that will come out of November 3 will be that we will not be exposed to endless attack ads, except for those related to any run-off elections.

Regardless of the prospect of on-going division, we as Christians have some sacred responsibilities. In the first place, as citizens of this country we have a responsibility to vote. It isn’t simply that, if you don’t vote you can’t complain. It is that, if you don’t vote you haven’t done anything to promote responsible leadership. 

Our responsibility does not end at the ballot box, of course. We are to be instruments of God’s peace in the world. I don’t think there has been an era in our lifetimes where this has been more crucial. And abstaining from overt violence is not enough. We must be just as careful about what we say.

Last Wednesday, during our Midweek Prayer Service, I began a study of “Nonviolent Communication,” using the book by that name by Marshall B. Rosenberg. I introduced the session with a poem included in the book by Ruth Bebermeyer. It’s entitled, “Words Are Windows (or They’re Walls)”. I would like for you to read it and let its words sink in. So many of the problems in this world are made worse by the thoughtless things we say. Let’s resolve to let our words be instruments of healing in a troubled world. 

I feel so sentenced by your words,
I feel so judged and sent away,
Before I go I’ve got to know,
Is that what you mean to say?

Before I rise to my defense,
Before I speak in hurt or fear,
Before I build that wall of words,
Tell me, did I really hear?

Words are windows, or they’re walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me.

There are things I need to say,
Things that mean so much to me,
If my words don’t make me clear,
Will you help me to be free?

If I seemed to put you down,
If you felt I didn’t care,
Try to listen through my words,
To the feelings that we share.