“What does that even mean?” asks my Sunday School teacher yesterday. We were talking about the state of the world, the state of our Christian voice in this world.” Can we coexist?” It is one of those questions that is multifaceted and commands your attention for most of the day and it occupied my mind long after I left his class.
Last night The Mister and I watch “60 Minutes” which is pretty typical of our aging pattern of TV viewing. We watch in horror as the atrocities of ISIS are splashed across the screen. Very seldom do I actually watch television for this very reason. My mind must simply have boundaries. As I watch the trail of their advance through Iraq and Syria, I hear an echo of the question from William…” Can we coexist?” and its a question that will have to be answered sooner rather than later.
Somewhere I seem to have lost my voice. Maybe I bought the lie that loving others means turning my eyes instead of turning my cheek. Perhaps I think that if I don’t rock the boat, everything will be smooth sailing. Have we bought into the recent propaganda that since we all sin no one should stand up with the declaration that our brother or sister is veering way off course?
And thoughts of a Sunday morning in a crowded classroom come to mind when our teacher tells us of the blunt truth from the lips of Jesus in Matthew 15:11-14. The disciples are worried that he has offended the Pharisees and bring it to his attention as if to tone down his message. Perhaps those words are as much for me as they are for the disciples who ask Jesus to take a more loving less confrontational approach.
The truth is, we won’t always coexist. Not with ISIS or our coworker. We can love and minister, but coexist? Not when the blinding light of Jesus pours out of us. It floods their dark world with a searing white light that leaves them covering their eyes. Or, we temper down the light until it is a pitiful, sputtering wisp of smoke that gags everyone in our vicinity, like when I try to start a campfire with damp wood. One of us is changed. We don’t really coexist without changing.