Last Sunday, I spent a good part of my morning and afternoon cooking for the week. Italian meatloaf (really turkey loaf), Cornish game hens, collard greens, black bean soup, and spaghetti with mussels. Rewind almost a year ago, and I was recovering from a cardiac arrest. Those who were there have told me the Doctors on the scene worked to bring me back longer than they should; the priest who stopped in to see me each day in the ICU called me miracle man. My recovery was quicker than was expected. My physical rehabilitation progressed nicely. Three months after the event, I went home from the rehab center and returned to work shortly after. A miracle? Maybe but more likely just another day for the Lord Almighty, who chose to reach down and touch me and say, not yet, my son, there is still work for you to do on this Earth. Now I won’t lie; it hasn’t been smooth sailing since the event some days are better than others there are bumps along the road health-wise. Despite that, every day, I wake and can see and smell the wonderful world around me and know of all the love my family and friends have for me, a love so apparent during my recovery and no doubt a significant factor in it. For this, I am truly blessed, blessed that the hand of the Lord has touched me and given me this second chance at life. It allowed me to spend a Sunday cooking for the week because despite what bumps maybe along the way, in my mind, I know He stands over me and will allow me to wake another day, so I might as well have something to eat on those days. I do not know what His ultimate plan is for me, but I know he has touched me, and he is guiding me, and I am eternally thankful for that.
One of the significant aspects of American society is the right to free speech. No matter how hateful and divisive it is. No matter how vile you may take the message to be, it is the right of every individual or group to voice their opinion freely.
This weekend exactly one year after Unite the Right, the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, many of the same white-nationalist, paramilitary, and other right-wing groups are planning to come together again — this time, in Washington, D.C.
In many ways, it is a good thing that these groups are permitted to use their first amendment right to hold these rallies as it sheds light on the vile, dangerous and disgusting message of division and hate they preach. A spotlight for the rest of America to witness and be repulsed by, hopefully forcing them to admit there is cancer in America that needs to be removed. Discussions about race and social inequalities can not be swept under the rug any longer but must be confronted head-on if we are ever going to move forward as a nation.
These rallies also shine a light on the sins of those individuals who preach hate. The majority of them call themselves Christians but deny the undeniable; we are all one created in the image of our Lord.
27 So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
They presuppose that they are greater than the Lord they claim to worship. That they have the right to determine which of the Lord’s children are worthy and which are not. A direct rejection of the Lord’s commandment to us. As is written in John 13:34:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another
The Lord created each of us in His image. He loves each of us unconditionally. He does not play favorites based on the color of our skin or our religious beliefs.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:26-29
Since the beginning, it has been the Lord’s desire for us to live together in peace and unity.
1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – Psalms 133:1
And He warned us to avoid those who would speak differently!
17. Now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words, they deceive innocent people. – Romans 16:17-18
So this weekend, let us stand at a distance, watch and expose to the world those with malice in their hearts, sinners against the Lord.
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. – Ephesians 5:11
But as with all things with the Lord, reject their beliefs but be prepared to forgive those among them who repent their sins and ask for help in finding their way back onto the path of spirituality.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. – Galatians 6:1
I have a friend with who I occasionally get into some heated debates about God, religion, and faith. During one of these debates, he asked if God exists why is he so secretive. Why doesn’t he just let us all know he exists so that the fighting and killing that takes place in his name would cease. I told him it is because God’s existence is not for us to have tangible evidence of, though when you look around, concrete evidence is everywhere, God’s presence to you is based on faith. However, his question made me wonder what if God did talk to us all directly today; What would we ask him? What would he reply? I thought about it some more, and below is what I believe an interview in today’s world with God might sound like.
Host: Good Afternoon, everyone thanks for tuning in to an extraordinary broadcast our special guest today is none other than the creator himself – God. Welcome to the show.
God: Hello everyone. Thanks for taking time out to listen in today, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve directly communicated with you, but I felt that with the way things have been going lately on Earth, now’s as good as time as ever to talk with you.
Host: Well, we are very excited to have you here. So let’s jump right in with the question everyone wants to know the answer to. The proverbial elephant in the room, so to speak; Who got it right? Which religion is the correct one?
God: Jumped right in you did. I am well aware that you’ve all been trying to find the answer to that question since, well, almost the beginning of your time. Which religion is the right one? Whose God am I? Whom do I favor? Profound questions all, and the answer you seek is a straightforward one. May I have a drum roll, please? The answer is, all and everyone.
Host: All and everyone? I think I speak for our listeners out there when I say I’m not sure what you mean by that.
God: I mean, I did not create religion; I created you, and in creating you, I gave you the beautiful gifts of intellect and imagination. It is with those gifts that you created religion. I never cared how you chose to imagine me or what doctrines you chose to build your faith around. No, all I asked is that you treat each other with love, compassion, and respect. Sadly since the very beginning, many of you have chosen not to that, and even sadder, you have chosen to use me as the reason for your destructive and violent actions. For that, I have been greatly saddened.
Host: But if that’s true, why would you let us continue to travel down that path of destruction.
God: That was not my choice to make. Lest you forget, I also blessed you with free will, the ability to live your lives as you saw fit. Yes, by allowing you to exist with free will, there have been innocent souls who have perished, and those they left behind have had to grieve. However, would you have found your existence to be more enjoyable if I scripted your life on Earth from the moment you were conceived to the moment you died? That nothing you did, no choice you made mattered? That you were simply actors in a play for my amusement?
Host: Well, when you put it that way, I guess not.
God: I didn’t think so.
Host: Let’s go back to something you said earlier that you were saddened by the acts of violence committed in your name.
God: Yes, that is true.
Host: So, over time, has that sadness ever turned to hate? Have you ever regretted creating us?
God: You know how it is said I created you in my image. Well, that means a lot of things, and to be honest, we don’t have the time today to delve into what that entirely means. But concerning your question, let me give you an analogy. A child is born to a mother and a father. They raise that child and instill in them what they believe to be guiding principles of right and wrong. The child grows and begins to develop their own identity and make decisions for themselves: decisions that are morally wrong, decisions that bring great harm to others. While horrified and saddened by the child’s actions at their core, the parents still love the child. Their love for their child is unconditional. It is that unconditional love of their child that is but one of the many ways you are an image of me. While I may be saddened by some of your decisions at my core, I can never stop loving you, for you are all my children.
Host: What about those that question your very existence? That has to anger you a bit.
God: Well, that very question presumes that I am vain, and let me assure you I am not. If I were, I would not have given you free will to decide for yourself if I do or do not exist. If I were, I would strike down with vengeance all who do not believe in me. Yet millions walk among you today who do not have faith. No, as I said earlier, my only desire is that you love and treat each other with compassion. If you need to believe in me to do so, that is fine. If you do not believe in me but do so, that is fine as well. But rest assured, I take no satisfaction in the knowledge that you fully believe in me but show no love or compassion for your fellow human.
Host: What can we do to be better? How do we stop the hate?
God: Again, that is not for me to say. Your destiny is yours and yours alone. I have provided you, above all my other creations, intelligence and the ability to reason—the power to communicate with each other and to create wondrous things. I have instilled with-in each of you the ability to be compassionate and the compelling emotion of love. Each of you is born with the guiding principles on what is right and wrong. But it all comes back to free will; as humans, you must want to walk in the light. You must want to sacrifice some of your own personal wealth and happiness so that, as a people, you benefit as a whole.
Host: That won’t be easy. We have never shown in our entire existence that we are capable of doing that.
God: It is because you have rejected the most basic concept.
Host: That is?
God: I created you as a people, one people. Yes, you may look different, but that is but on the surface. You are all my children; you are all the same. When you can truly grasp that, only then will you be able to love one another in the way that I truly had imagined you would.
Host: Maybe one day we will, but we’ve come so far down the road I am afraid we never will be able to achieve that level of understanding, and that must sadden you.
God: It does, but I have a great belief in you. After all, you are my children. You may not be there today, but you have so much potential that I know one day you will get there. After all, you have only been here but the blink of an eye. There is still much growing you have to do.
Host: Well, it is comforting to know that you believe we have a chance. I know you are busy and so we’ll end it there. Thank you for making this rare in-person appearance; we’ll try as a people to do better.
God: I know you will.