Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Nine days ago (Friday the 4th), Annie and I were having a coffee (and tea) break, talking about the terrible divisions that are rupturing our country. Will we ever be able to overcome the hard attitudes that afflict so many? Can we find healing?

I thought it might be an idea to Twitch about and jotted down the title you see above without having any idea what would follow.

A few hours later, I came back to this page, and as I usually do before a Twitch, went to look at the three Scriptures readings assigned for today. I nearly fell off the chair.

I doubt I could have found any Sacred Words better suited to breaking down barriers and offering hope. Listen again to Sirach!

Wrath and anger are hateful things...
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice...
Remember your last days, set enmity aside...

Then in Romans, Saint Paul hits it on the head – at least my head - when he says, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Then we hear Peter ask Jesus about forgiveness: “seven times?” Jesus answers “seventy-seven times.” In other words, “Infinite.” Then, once again, he tells a story.

You run the risk of missing the point if you think the story is about the size of debts or discounts. Listen to Jesus. He makes his point at the very end when speaks about a different method of accounting. The unjust steward’s shortage wasn’t about money. “So will my heavenly Father (treat) you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” ...from your heart!

I was gob-smacked. In case you don’t know that word, it literally means whacked in the mouth, astonished, amazed, etc. How perfectly today’s readings approach the craziness in our society.

I felt like I had been grabbed by the ears to hear those words for myself, long before they’d find their way to a Twitch or a homily.

How do we bridge the gaps between our firmly held opinions and attitudes... No, not ‘our’ attitudes, my attitudes, your attitudes?

We say things like, “THOSE people will never change.” First, I need to decide that I might be one of “them.” Then, I pray for a change in my heart that reflects Jesus and makes possible a country where you can find love, whatever it takes.

The only way we are going to deal with the monstrous incivility we find surrounding us today requires what may seem nearly impossible.

However difficult it may seem, we need to decide that bridge-building language is not only possible, but critical. We BEGIN by seeking a common language. Where are the common denominators? Who can discover those touching points? The labor movement calls them mediators.

Remember Senator George Mitchell mediating the decades-long warfare, the “troubles” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? The Good Friday Agreement came because of his extraordinary patience, born of wisdom.

Where are those people now? If we can’t find them, we are doomed. We need to bless and encourage people in our midst who ARE capable and give them the bridge materials they need to span the gaps between our hardened attitudes.

Back to gob-smacking. The only real answer to all those ‘we’ questions is ‘me.’ Right now, my job is not to convert the world, but to convert me.

That isn’t an idea I am just discovering. But if you want to talk about gaps, how about the one that exists between what I know and what I do.

Lord, give me a bridge between my heart and yours.
In Hope,
sign frjim

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