Baby Steps


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 143; 147:12-20, 1 Kings 3:16-28, Acts 27:27-44, Mark 14:12-26

A famous story about King Solomon’s wisdom involves two women who bore sons within days of each other. After one of the sons died, one woman claimed the other had switched the infants while she slept. Each insisted the living child was her own. Solomon proposed to treat the matter like any other property dispute by physically dividing the infant in half. One woman immediately relinquished her claim so the child might live; the other agreed to his decision. Solomon declared the true mother to be the woman most concerned with the child’s survival.

There is a big difference between loving something, and loving to own it.

Is there anything we claim to love which we are willing to see destroyed rather than let it continue existing outside our control? Does the church come to mind? The innumerable denominations of the Christian church exist because people would rather divide over doctrine than live without control. When we sing “One Bread, One Body” is it more longing than truth?

Then there is public space – the civic and social realm in which we all interact. Americans say we value freedom of speech and religion, but our behavior doesn’t always align with those ideals. For most of our history, the default expectation of religion in the public space was Christian (and usually a homogeneous kind of Christian). As the public space grows more diverse – the inevitable outcome of the American experiment – some people find they don’t care to share it. From enacting laws that cross into theocracy to shutting down speech we find offensive, we seem determined to strangle freedoms rather than let them survive outside our control.

Like the grieving mother, we are more vulnerable to demanding control when we grieve. If we grieve the passing of a way of life we treasured, perhaps what we really grieve is not having our control challenged. If we grieve a past that left us voiceless, we can’t enforce silence and call it reconciliation.

Not everything we love, once let go, fully returns to us. If that stops us from loving it, maybe we never really did.

Comfort: You don’t have to control everything. 

Challenge: You don’t have to control everything.

Prayer: God of Mercy, unite your children in love. Amen. 

Discussion: Have you ever left a community over a disagreement? Have you ever been forced out because of a disagreement? How are they similar and how are they different?

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