Journey with John
Mystified, troubled and disheartened by the brokenness all around us, I wonder if there is a solution to be found. How do we heal the wounds of the world?… A beautiful family explodes into ugly accusations, waging a tiny war, “I found drugs in your room!” an angry father declares. “You’re not going to have them in my home.” “Fine,” shouts the troubled son, “I’ll leave!” The son deserts in rage. The war is over. But nobody won.
A neighbor loses his job. The paychecks stop, while the bills continue to drop until the man is “bombed” out of his mortgaged home. He pleads with his creditors to cease fire. “We need our money,” they cry. “But, I don’t have it,” he sobs. “Too bad,” they snarl, as they seize his home. The man puts a gun to his head, too broken to care. A company gets the house. Somebody’s neighbor is dead. The war is over. But, nobody won.
Two countries exhaust their supply of virile, young soldiers. They shoot each other down. One overstepped the boundaries, sailing into the other’s sea. “You will pay,” the other warned. “We shall see.” “We’ll find out who is strongest,” they screamed in unison. The war raged. Bombs and bullets, anger and hate erupted. Blood flowed until all the young soldiers lay silently in cold, open graves. The war is over. But, nobody won.
How will the pain and brokenness end? Children’s author, Shel Silverstein, has part of the answer. He writes:
“I will not play at tug o war, I’d rather play at hug o war,
Where everybody hugs instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins,
Where everyone cuddles and everyone wins!”
How can a father and son scream when locked in embrace? How can a neighbor drown if a friend reaches out to lift up? How can two nations hate if they share a dream? It seems a lot more hugging and a lot less tugging is needed to mold a place where everyone wins. It’s the reason Jesus came. He stretched out his arms from the cross to embrace the world. we can’t allow that holy gift to be given in vain. Hmmmm, maybe our church is the perfect place for the hugging to begin…?