SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Join together this Independence Day

I wish there was something I could do or say that would make people behave. The level of civil discourse in our country today is, well, increasingly not civil. In the infamous words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?” Apparently the answer is no!
This week we celebrate our Independence Day. July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and to become the United States of America. The final wording was agreed upon two days later. The agreed upon Declaration of Independence was drafted bearing the date of July 4th, 1776, although most of the signers signed on Aug. 2. John Adams, our second president, famously wrote to his wife on July 3rd, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” His missed the mark by two days.
It would seem that most of us are missing the mark when it comes to being a “United States” these days. It seems every day there is a new way of dividing us up: North vs. South, Red vs. Blue, Rural vs. Urban, Old vs. Young, Families vs. Singles, Rich vs. Poor, Shirts vs. Skins, Catholic vs. Protestant, Christian vs. Everybody Else, Black vs. White vs. Brown vs. Red vs. Yellow vs. Yet to be determined.
To miss the mark is to sin or make a mistake. The word sin comes from an ancient archery term which literally meant to miss the mark. If you don’t hit the bullseye you have “synned.” So, next time take better aim. Haven’t we all missed the mark on occasion? Especially whenever we decide we know what is right for any one or everyone else, and fight to change them, we are grossly missing the mark. The only ones that we can change are ourselves, what we think, say and do.
Politicians and Religious leaders love to stir up the fight, to win at all cost including our immortal souls. They resort to lies, deceit, cheating and stealing in order to win. The ends do not justify the means. Every lying deceitful attack on the other side is met by hurrahs by the proponents, cries of foul by the opponents and tears away at the moral fiber of our communities and our country. It is up to each one of us to take a step back, breathe deep, relax, let go and let God’s good come forth. And, if we can’t find something helpful, positive and truthful to say, shut up!
The people who are promoting the fight are the ones who are benefitting at our expense, if we let them divide us; we lose!
Two thousand years ago Jesus came to bring us a spiritual message of love and service: the great commandment (Matthew 22: 37-40,) the sign of discipleship (John 13:35) and the work of ministry (John 21:15) is love and service. This work requires acceptance and tolerance of other beliefs, cultures and lifestyles. St. Teresa of Calcutta, and her Missionaries of Charity, didn’t worry if they were serving a Hindu or a Moslem or Atheist, Gay or Straight or Whatever! We are all God’s children, made in God’s image and likeness, worthy of our love and acceptance and service.
God is “Our Father,” (Matthew 6:9-13) and as we invoke an awareness of our intimate connection with God we realize that we can chose to live in a consciousness of the heaven that is here on earth; we become aware that all we need and desire, our daily bread, is readily provided; that in forgiving, we are forgiven; and, we are not tempted to place our faith in and be manipulated by the physical, material world; we place our faith in God the good as our only true reality.
This greater reality, the infinite presence, the ultimate power which is God, is only good. Divine order and Divine timing are now made manifest in our life and affairs. I relax, let go and let God’s Good come forth.
In peace, joy & love. Rev. Matthew E. Long, Peace Unity Community

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