The playwright Eugene Ionesco once wrote, “ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.” In reflecting on the overwhelming sense of division in our country, I am deeply aware of how politics, race, religion, and nationalism, often divide us from one another. How often have we heard that you can’t discuss politics or religion at the dinner table? We find ourselves in our respective corners, ready to come out fighting, convinced we are right!
But then, we are suddenly reminded of our common humanity: a child is born and our hopes for that child soar; a loved one dies, or a serious diagnosis is received, and our agendas are pushed aside; a flood, or a fire like the one that ravaged two Boonton homes last week, intrude on our daily lives, and a community responds, together, in solidarity. This is why the church, and what we stand for, what we believe, and what happens among us, is so important: to touch what is deepest in ourselves, what is already in our hearts, and to realize again that in those hopes and dreams, and in our suffering and anguish, we are all alike. We are all children of the one God, and sisters and brothers of one another. Is that Pollyannaish, ridiculously naïve? Maybe so, but I believe in the essential goodness of people and in our potential to be better than we are. So let’s not be defined by our “isms”, political or religious, but let’s be willing to reach across what seems right now to be a vast chasm, to touch the world with love and hope–never needed more than at this moment! As Jen said in her sermon on Sunday, “God commits to the things that we can only dream of,” and that includes the dream of reaching across chasms of hate and anguish and disagreement,to bring a new, richer culture of love, understanding, graciousness, and peace.
Rev. Sherm Skinner