It’s been a long week of confrontation here in this country. Far right groups, sometimes including elements of the KKK or white supremacist neo-Nazi groups have been countered by those on the left supporting anti-racists and anti-hate positions. Last night the confrontation came to our little beach town in the form of over 2,500 demonstrators attending an anti-immigration rally where most of the people were against the anti-immigration group. In fact, in some cases, it appeared that the anti-hate groups out-hated the haters. (Don’t you just hate people who hate?)
Hundreds of riot police were brought in to maintain control and barriers were erected between the street and the gathering place to prevent anyone from turning their car into a weapon and creating the mayhem that happened last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. But for three arrests and some pushing and shouting between the two groups, it was a relatively peaceful event. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities such as New Orleans, Dallas and Boston.
Bottom line of all this is we need healing. In our Sunday night online church service <www.facebook.com/thecatch> we are studying the Book of Acts in the New Testament and in chapter 4, the believers all pray following Peter and John’s release from prison after their own demonstration preaching the gospel: “And now, O Lord, hear their threats,” they prayed, “and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power” (Acts 4:29-30).
As believers, we need to guard ourselves from joining in these battles and look for opportunities, even in our casual conversation with others, to seek healing and reconciliation. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” said Jesus, and that is what we want to be, especially now. We operate on a different track entirely from the tracks so many are currently traveling in our divisive culture. Our track is all about the gospel, about healing, and about grace turned outward. In many ways these are the worst of times, but as often happens, the worst of times present the best opportunity for the reality that grace brings.
I had to drive through town twice yesterday. At one point at least twenty officers with helmets and visors down filed across the street two-by-two. I could hear some chanting from the demonstrators and see signs and placards were swaying to and fro. I have to admit, it was a little unnerving, and I was glad when I passed by the final barrier to my house. It was an opportunity to counter the fear that sought to grip my heart with the love and forgiveness of Jesus. He’s been in the middle of these kinds of scenes and he knows what to say and not say. He also knows His kingdom is not of this world. We need to look for opportunities to speak the word and reach out a healing hand whenever and wherever we can.