One God. Proclaiming the unity, the wholeness, the One Nation for which He originally created us.
Two Nations. A divided people, each obstinately set in their ways.
Here we are, same human nature, different century. Sometimes it's the political sector, a local group, or a combox on social media. Sometimes it's within the walls of our own homes. So often we get caught up in worldly divisions, in proving the merits of our "side." And God? We often relegate Him to the back corner—and make into idols our “unfailing” opinions, our hasty reactions, our judgement of anyone in opposition to us, our guise of control. The very idols Ezekiel warns us of.
This was the Achilles heel for the Pharisees in today's Gospel. They were so focused on what they might lose, they completely missed all there was to gain. They were so concerned with proving themselves right, with clinging to the upper hand of power and authority, that they couldn’t deign to bow to the ideal—the only—Power and Authority who unites.
We all inherited the same fallen nature. We all play a role in either building or tearing down God's Kingdom on earth.
Of course, we don't usually start out in the public arena as sinister Pharisees plotting an innocent man's death. For most of us, it starts in the unlit corners of our hearts. We chip away at the foundation with those hasty reactions, internal snap judgements, and self-interested responses to the other "side."
But the good news? That's also where the building of God's kingdom starts: in the quiet corners of our hearts. It begins with our death to self in the face of pride and false control. We give life to the kingdom of wholeness when we build a foundation of charity in thought and deed. We raise high the temple of oneness when we more intentionally reach for the one tenuous string that might unite us with an opponent instead of the millions of reasons that repel.
So while the rest of the world digs in to their set ways and clings to the divisions of empires that will soon fade, remember, we are not here to spend our time pointing out the other guy’s role in division. We are called to look inward, to seek our unique God-given gifts, and use them as humble builders of One Kingdom, one Nation—for the One Foundation that lasts forever.
Where in your heart do you feel the tension of division most? Have you invited God into that struggle or pushed Him away? Ask Him today to show you the next right step toward wholeness.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.