Like the rest of the world I spent almost half of October in a state of bewilderment and frustration as the United States government and entire legislative process ground to a halt. I watched as members of the Congress and Senate from both major political parties refused to negotiate and instead relied upon cheap political theater to get their respective versions of the truth out to an irritated American public.
It was startling to me how much everyone involved was willing to yield and come together to ease the suffering of out-of-work employees and small businesses that were effected all over the country by this ineffectual staring contest.
After fifteen days the shutdown ended with a promise that this entire process could repeat itself early in 2014. People from all over seemed to bemoan the political landscape in the United States as being too toxic for rational conversations to be had. My friends, in troubling times like this God always provides an example to us of the right path for us to be on.
Beginning on 30October, the World Council of Churches will be holding their 10th General Assembly in Busan, South Korea. During this meeting, people of differing denominations from all over the globe will gather together to celebrate and deliberate on their faith and its role in our ever-changing world. Dialogue will take place and the greatest hope will be that despite often disparate viewpoints, consensus can and will be found.
The General Assembly should be an example for all people, in all lands, in the entire world. We must look beyond the empty rewards of hollow political brinksmanship and instead cultivate peace, grace and justice in the fertile soil of compassion, dialogue and an intentional and thoughtful worldview. Throughout history politicians have retired and can be voted out of office, governments have risen and fallen.
Although the church has been through many crisis through the past 2,000 years, we have held onto the words of inspiration and hope from St. Paul “we are troubled on every side yet not distressed, we are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4: 8-9 KJV). We have faced many challenges, and there are more to come. But we are anchored in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. We shall overcome.
As we prepare for advent, the season of peace and goodwill, let us once again commit ourselves to build a better world of justice, peace and prosperity for all humanity.
IVAN M ABRAHAMS