Do you ever find yourself agitated in spirit where something deep inside you seems to be on edge but you really can’t put your finger on the reason why? This has been my experience of late. One of the benefits of the Blue Book has been its encouragement to pause and wait on the Lord in a new way. This habit of waiting, where I am subjecting my distressed (and often putrid thoughts) to a fresh stream of living and hope-filled truth stirs the Life within. I am especially aware of this process this morning as His words are bringing clarity and perspective, relieving me of some of the rancor within.
Note: I looked up “rancor” just to make sure my application was consistent with the actual meaning. The example it offered was; “In the end, the debate created a degree of “rancor” among the Sunday School members.” Oh yes! “Rancor” is the right word. Thank you Mr Webster.
Actually, I confess, I substituted “Sunday School” for “committee” in the above definition. I took this liberty because (as I read Psalm 125) I backtracked my tumult of spirit to Sunday School which (this past week) had turned into a sort of town hall debate which exposed an apparently impassable gulf between one side of the political canyon and the other. Psalm 125 however, has caused me to see that the distance across might not be so far as it might appear.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.
I think Psalm 125:4 is the Kingdom of God’s-common ground to those on either side of the divide. As I have considered the debate, I heard in both, as in this psalm, the longing for righteousness and social justice. Both the super-majority, who are my friends, and the super-minority who is my friend, want to see good. Being well acquainted with sibling squabbles, I am grieved when I see consternation among my eternal family.
“In the west, it seems that your discourse produces more heat than light.” (paraphrase of a comment by Ravi Zacharias)
It seems as though the supposedly unbiased, profit-driven media who, hosts our political discourse forces us to shout sound bites at each other across the divide with the assumption there is no common ground between us. I am proposing the idea that, “there is no common ground”, is a lie fostered by the Father of Lies whose mission it is to divide. He is no doubt pleased with his progress based on our overheated exchanges and the increasingly divisive nature of our discourse.
“Oh great! Here Rob goes over-spiritualizing things again”. At least this was the feeling I got when I tried to step out into the gulf and speak to both sides of the divided sunday school class. It seemed neither side knew quite what to do with me. My super-majority friends think I am a defector from their camp. My super minority-friend thinks I am a defector from his. If my 100% pledge of allegiance to a side is the cost of belonging, then the truth is, I can’t belong. I recently listened to a song called A King and a Kingdom by Derek Webb. Here are some lyrics from that song;
my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a King and a kingdom
there are two great lies that i’ve heard;
“the day you eat of the fruit of the tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like him
“Oh, now he’s gone too far! He has now slandered my socio-economic classification, my race and my ideology!” I hear the raised voices from both sides declaring, “There can be no middle ground! You must declare allegiance to either FOX news or CNBC!”
To illustrate my point;
My bright and sensitive son attended a Christian school where he learned the Westminster catechism in Pre-K and more. We discovered the “and more” on the way home from school one day when he asked us to pray for a close friend of our family. It happened to be my super-minority friend. We were taken aback! What had prompted the intercessor in our son to find its voice? I said “Ok, son what shall we pray?” And this discerning child replied, “We need to pray for Jerry; He’s a democrat.” My son knew intuitively that this leftward leaning soul was damned due to an infection apparently as fatal as sin – the wrong political ideology.
Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
My brief study of Mount Zion equated it to the city of the great King David, the seat of power in a time that was thought of as Israel’s golden age.
So the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.
Those who have submitted to the rulership of Jesus are looking for “the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God“. They have citizenship in heaven. Because they have been raised up with Christ, they keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. They set their minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Heb 11:10, Phil 3:20, Col 3:1,2)
Political discourse as it is, moderated by a biased media, breeds hopelessness, frustration and agitation of spirit, as it focuses on our differences, highlights the negatives and stirs up contention (and consequently rakes in profits). Unfortunately, at least in this hour, media thrives on division and in my opinion disqualifies itself as a useful moderator of any meaningful and productive discourse.
As the water of His word washed over my soul this morning and gave it needed perspective, my agitation was altered to more of a hope-oriented anxious longing which I pray is an appropriate emotion for those who have been subjected for a time (along with creation) to a season of futility.
For we know the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together.” We have hope though because creation itself will be set free from it slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:19
Our King came to us from heaven born as a child and a government of peace rests on His shoulders. There will be no end to the increase of this government or His rule over this kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness for evermore. This is going to be accomplished by the zeal of the One who is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. (from Isaiah 9:6,7)
Father, Your Word gives us peace and hope in a world that appears to have none. May the sons and daughters of the Kingdom arise and from their higher ground (seated with Christ). May we earn the right (by Your love) which is in us, to be the hosts of a new dialogue which will draw us together; which will reveal the common ground between us – our instinctive love of righteousness and justice. May Your kingdom of Truth and Wisdom be vindicated by her words of love, wise counsel and deeds of social justice. May this new conversation birth unexpected healing and unity in behalf of all men for Your Name’s sake.
When you returns may you find us conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ’s kingdom; standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Thank You for restoring my spirit again and again. Amen