Not physical walls, but personal and cultural barriers to connection.
It seems to me that the ultimate winner of this election has been division – the deepening of an “us” vs. “them” perspective that separates coasts from heartland, prosperous from poverty, majority from marginalized…
On one side is a group that fears being left economically and culturally behind in the name of larger progress. On the other, those who fear misogyny, racism and xenophobia have been granted new license. Both feel under immediate threat. And both are already taking their sense of victory or loss and strategizing for the next election – looking to reinforce their position for the next battle on the horizon. If we are not careful the walls will only grow stronger and the conflicts more intense.
The temptation for the church in such moments is to join the fray. That is, to get caught up in the politics themselves – to imagine that the wholeness we seek (God seeks!) in creation can be accomplished by political movements. “If only we can elect the correct leaders, accomplish the necessary legislation, shalom will prevail!” We are mystified when the “others” do not share the people and policies we are sure reflect the good. And while there is no doubt that good government is a goal we are to seek, politics is not the cure for what ails us.
In this episode, we look to the biblical vision of citizenship (that we are citizens of a new kingdom under God) and the declared law of the land (“You shall love…”) to guide us as we do the work assigned to us: the reconciliation of all things.