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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Invented, United People

Once you were not a people,
but now you are the people of God.
                               
- 1 Peter 2:10 a



For he himself is our peace,
who has made the two (Jews and Gentiles) one,
and has destroyed the barrier,
the dividing wall of hostility.
                                  Ephesians 2:14


There before me was a great multitude that no one could count,
from every nation, tribe, people and language,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice:
  
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
                                   Revelation 7:9-11


In the Christian tradition, Christmas becomes a part of the fulfillment of the dream of the Hebrew prophets, a quiet proclamation of a vision of nations beating their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, an announcement of "peace on earth and good will toward all." It is an expression of God's plan for all people to become united as children of one Creator, not through the force of God as warrior, but the love of God as Lamb.

On a more mundane level, I submitted the following thoughts in a letter to the Daily News-Record yesterday:

Editor, DNR:

Like many others, I was struck by candidate Newt Gingrich's recent reference to Palestinians as "an invented people." While he is not alone in opposing the two-state solution (actually favored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his fellow Israelis), I'm wondering how he defends our own country's founders who, in the name of "we, the people," insisted on being recognized as a sovereign nation in spite of not being of one culture, language or national origin.


I've always thought it was a good thing that the original colonists represented a mix of Germans, Irish, English, Swiss, Scotch, Dutch, French and other people of all social classes. And that among them were Dunkards, Catholics, Jews, Methodists, Mennonites, Baptists, Congregationalists, Anglicans, Amish, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Freemasons, Deists and yes, even a group of Muslims from Morocco (down in Charleston, I'm told). Yet many of these diverse folks came together to "form a more perfect union," a great "invention," if you please.


If I understand Gingrich correctly, only native Americans should have had the right to form a sovereign state on this soil. Tragically, they were excluded and decimated. And African-Americans, sadly, were subjugated and denied any right to citizenship for decades.

When will we learn to truly proclaim liberty and justice for all?
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