4 July, Monday — On Disunity

Jul 4 – Memorial for St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth (1271-1336) was a princess with a pious upbringing who became Queen of Portugal before she was a teenager. Elizabeth suffered through years of her husband’s abuse and adultery, praying all the while for his conversion, and working with the poor and sick. She rode onto the battlefield to reconcile her family members twice; once between her husband and son when they clashed in civil war, and between her son and his son-in-law years later, preventing bloodshed. This led to her patronage as a peacemaker, and as one invoked in time of war and conflict.

  • Patron Saint Index

Hos 2:16-18,21-22
Mt 9:18-26

I am going to…lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart.

As I write this, the US Supreme Court has just reversed what a generation of American women have come to regard as their ‘constitutional right’ – the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The outrage from the secular public has been overwhelming. The streets are filled with protesters looking for someone to blame. In homes across the country, family members have taken opposing sides of the divide. And social media has responded with loud and vitriol-laced cacophony, as if loudness itself were a necessary condition of righteousness, never mind the facts. We have let our anger define us; anger for anger’s sake. We have become a mob.

I often wonder what our founding fathers, and all those who sacrificed their lives for our liberty, would say if they could see us now. No more are we that hopeful republic, the “city upon a hill”. Instead, we seem now to be governed by our basest instincts. We choose conflict over compromise, politics over peace. We are quick to anger. We insist on our right to self-determination, and shout down anyone who dares to tell us otherwise. We demand ‘safe spaces’ for ourselves, but lack the good manners or the grace to offer the same to anyone else. Unyielding and uncompromising – this is who we are now. This is what we have become.

Perhaps this disorder and chaos is what needs to happen for a rebirth to occur. In scripture, chaos, destruction, and death are always precursors to resurrection, hope and life. In every age, God has allowed for a threshing moment to separate His wheat from the chaff of humanity. Perhaps this present time is that; our generation’s threshing moment – “He comes with a winnowing fan to clear his threshing floor and gather the grain into his barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out” (Luke 3:17). What will this place I call my home look like in the aftermath? I really don’t know.  

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: I pray for my country, for my countrymen and for this land I call my home. I pray we not lose ourselves to secular ideologies that burn fiercely in the moment, but do not endure and offer no resolution. I pray that we seek peace and not division, empathy and not anger, love and not vengeance. I pray we discover for ourselves anew, the healing power of God’s Word. And I pray for those of us who call ourselves God’s people, whose lives are beacons for all who are lost.

Thanksgiving: I give thanks for the family and friends who continue to hold the line on hope, love and forgiveness, who are peacemakers despite being surrounded by anger, division and disorder.

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