Heights make me dizzy (some might say I should be used to that). More than dizzy, I experience a great deal of anxiety (most like fear and dread) when I look down from high places. Vertigo, to me, means Far-to-go to the bottom where there is a catastrophic end.
I look at the cultural landscape and I feel a bit as I did standing at the edge of the Hoover Dam looking at the bridge being constructed nearly 900 feet above the Colorado River. The year 2020 created a fear spectrum – angst to great concern to paralyzing dread, prompting the fight or flight reflex. It was COVID. It was the presidential race and transition. It was financial concerns. The list is far more extensive.
Instead of seeing people pull together, we have witnessed the divide of a people that refer to themselves as united. I don’t think of our culture per se because I expect people (especially politicians) to be (at best) divisive, self-absorbed, and entitled (I apologize for my cynicism). That which troubles me the most is that God’s children (people of faith in Jesus Christ, I won’t speak for other faith expressions) have aligned themselves to the right and to the left and have drawn battle lines. Fear is the motivating factor in this divisive rhetoric and behavior.
The bridge, completed a little more than 10 years ago, joined Nevada and Arizona. The construction had its setbacks. The span was started on each side of the canyon and it met in the middle. To look at it today, one might think that it was a seamless project; however, there were moments.
The Church is at a place in history where we can truly make a difference in a people that are governed by fear. We stand at opposite sides of the canyon. We need to trust the Engineer and the plan provided to bridge the chasm. We can be governed by the Law of Love (love of, and for, God and our neighbors; or, we can remain divided. For the Church to be relevant in the world today, we must be willing to lead by example. This means honest and respectful discourse. This calls for speaking the truth in love. We can be angry but we cannot let it turn to rage. We must seek the place of unity which is ultimately only found in the heart of God. For the Church to be the light of the world, let me suggest, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
To be honest, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a huge precipice. I am a little fearful for the church but I am hopeful that the Church can be the vehicle by which God’s grace is evident to all. “No matter who you are or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome Here.”