O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man:
Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
Us and Them. That was a book that I read for a class in psychology many years ago. In it were fourteen case studies designed to bring readers a first-hand account of the history and psychology of intolerance: Mary Dyer, who was executed for her Quaker faith in Boston in 1660; the Mormons, who were expelled from Missouri in 1838; the attack on Chinese miners in Wyoming in 1885; the battle of Wounded Knee in 1890; the Ku Klux Klan activities in Mobile, Alabama in 1981; and the Crown Heights riot in 1991 were all a part of the book.
Unfortunately, we have always lived with an Us and Them mentality. There have always been people whom we have shunned and people who we accept as belonging to us. There are friends and foes. There are allies and enemies. And it seems that never the twit shall meet.
We often forget that we — each and every one of us — are brother and sister in the Lord. We should not make a distinction between others for any reason. We have to stop thinking that there is a “wrong side of the tracks”. We need to live in peace.
That was the vision of God’s people when they were in exile and slavery. They wanted nothing more than to live in peace. Isaiah talked about a Messiah that was to come for the nations: Jew and Gentile alike. In their day, gentiles did not belong. They were excluded. But God’s message was and is a message for every person.
We hear the message. The question is, will we heed the message of the King of all the nations? After all, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is “our peace, and who made the two of us one by breaking down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart”. (Eph 2:14)
FAITH ACTION: Pray that the barriers that we impose between so many people may be taken down so that all people will have the opportunity to live together in faith, love, and holiness. Reflect upon the following verse of an Advent hymn:
O Christ, whom nations sigh for,
Whom priest and prophet long foretold,
Come break the captive fetters;
Redeem the long-lost fold.
Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show Thy face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.