Walls and Mountains
December 3, 2015, 12:49 PM

I’ve been continuing to consider Jesus’ prediction that the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem would fall –“not one stone will be left upon another.”  It keeps cropping up, in one context or another, over and over again. 

Bp Cate is asking us to pray during Advent for Bethlehem, and this prayer rapidly goes much farther afield:

Almighty God, Creator of the wonderful complex diversity of humanity; you have fashioned us in your image and commanded us to love one another; reach down your divine hand so that the wall shall come down in Bethlehem, the birthplace of your Son, the Prince of Peace; and may the crumbling walls herald the fall of all barriers that divide us.  Bind us together so that love gives rise to an abundance of tenderness among all people; and may our hearts like Mary’s magnify the Lord, and may your love shower down throughout the world so all divisions are scattered and washed away.  We ask this all with the expectant hearts through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Walls will come down.  This coming Sunday, the gospel tells of John the Baptist, who repeats Isaiah’s promise that the mountains will be brought low, the valleys raised up, and the rough places made plain.

One of my cousins is a conservative Republican, so you can imagine that our “conversations” on Facebook often seem to consist of both of us throwing spears at each other’s ideas, both of us blocking those spears with our shields, and no new ideas breaking through.  We both identify few points of agreement and we do struggle to maintain a relationship despite our differences.

There were many years when we did not communicate at all, so even though we disagree, I‘d still have to put this in the list of good things – at least the mountain and the valley are talking to each other.

So many times in our lives, we don’t do that.  We write someone or some group off, we close the door, we build the wall, and we stop listening.  We stop so hard that we lose sight of the humanness of the other, we lose sight of God’s image in the other – whether they are a cousin, or a Syrian refugee, or a politician or a bureaucrat, or a terrorist….

We can’t go on like this.

Our Gospel is one of reconciliation and forgiveness; our mission is to heal the world.  We cannot do this if we will not “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human person.”
(BCP 305)