When Opposites Come Together
I’m a little late on weekend musings, sorry! Al and I took a 5-day excursion, just the two of us and Inky-our black lab. UP in the mountains to Colorado’s Platoro Reservoir. A true old mining camp that is now quaint cottages, and outstanding trout fishing and hunting. We’re talking 4 to 10-day excursions on horseback for lots of sportsmen-and women.
It was a peaceful time for us—lots of hiking straight up, and always exploring the incredible Rocky Mountains. This brings me to this musing: opposites and how they can attract as well as divide. For instance, some hikes I said “no” to emphatically because they were so straight up and I knew for me it would not happen. Yet, there were roads straight up that we took in our 4-wheel drive Suburban, attract and/or divide, it is part of life for sure. (And climbing some of those places in the Burb was so nice.)
A while back I read a short story from Rev. Max Lucado. It really hit me and I knew I would want to use this in a devotion so here goes:
“Brian Reed served in a military unit in Baghdad, Iraq, in the fall of 2003. He and his unit went on regular street patrols to protect neighborhoods and build peace. It was often a thankless, fruitless assignment. Brian said his unit battled low morale daily. But then an exception came in the form of a church service his men stumbled upon. It was filled with Arabic-speaking Coptic Christians who invited the soldiers to partake in the Lord’s Supper with them. Brian wrote, “Celebrating the Lord’s Supper and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was the most important bridge builder and wall destroyer we could have experienced.”
What a story of opposites! Usually Coptic Christians are closed communion, and of course, many of the soldiers also may have belonged to a denomination where open communion is forbidden. And some of those soldiers may have been Muslim, Buddhist, or no religion at all. But here is where the opposites ended: the Coptic people of faith invited all the soldiers to join them no matter what. And that invitation tells you a lot about the deep faith of these Coptic Christians and how they thought this would encourage the soldiers. People were hurting, the table of the Lord is ready to heal, end of story!
It also tells me that we need our denominations to work on bringing people together instead of keeping them apart with rules that are not even Biblical!! I’m not here to point fingers at any denomination, but when they do show infighting or blasting one another for what they do or don’t do, the picture is painted loud and clear: it’s our way or the highway and somehow God is not in the equation at all. I’m thinking Jesus would have been like those Coptic folks, saying “come, here is my body given for you, here is my blood shed for you.” Can you imagine Jesus doing anything else?
But I want to take this a bit deeper and take out the denomination-factor. Instead let’s talk about the “opposites” created between us by politics, ethnicity, sexual preference, and yes religion…all things in our culture that divide instead of helping people come together, learn from one another, and find their commonality in being the children of God. Really, do you think God gives a whip about your political party, or the color of your skin or the money you have in your bank account?
God has created every one of us and not a single one of us is the same. To me, God created opposites and did it for a very good reason. It would be boring if we were all the same! Each person is gifted with special talents and like a puzzle, nothing happens until the pieces come together. And oh—how opposites in a puzzle can only come together if the right pieces fit with one another.
Life is like that, too. We are all a piece of God’s master puzzle, and should we choose to not want to come together, to stay opposite always, what happens? I go back to the Coptics and the soldiers, together they celebrated the Lord’s Supper—perhaps each soldier may have had a different take on the Eucharist, but in the end this wasn’t THEIR meal and it isn’t OUR meal—it is Jesus’ meal and it was given for all to come together and partake. What a euphemism for what we need to do in our everyday lives.
I’m going to close this musing with the words Max shared after this true story: ‘Opposite you’s—brought together by the cross of Christ.
This is how happiness happens.
This is how Jesus would like to see us live Amen!’