May 25. The Human Need for Division

Jesus’ words to The Father: “That they may all be one” barely leave his lips before they are disproven by the world. Judas betrays him, Peter denies him; the disciples are thrown into disunion.

Religions, countries, and every collection of humans are prone to division. You could even say that even an individual can be divided: “I am of two minds about this”, “I’m conflicted”,  “I could go either way.” Families are divided, cultures, countries and religions are divided. The more one looks for unity, the more one finds division. It can be disheartening.

Division can cause violence, great harm and death in the name of “truth”, or at least the human concept of what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is untrue. Religion especially. Hindus are divided into several sects. Muslims, Jews and even Buddhists are divided amongst themselves in that most supreme division of all: “what is God?” Christianity has a long and bloody past in which we slaughtered one another in the Name of God.

In the first decades of its existence, Christianity was divided. Do Gentile converts have to become Jews first before they can become accepted as followers of Jesus? If I eat meat which has been offered to an idol, am I no longer Christian? If I ran away during a persecution and then came back when things calmed down, am I still a member of the community?

Unity has been shown in religion more in its absence than its presence. The love of God and neighbor even less so.

I have only the following to offer for comfort (and it may be a meager comfort). A theologian I studied with at seminary said this:
“Do you worship One God with ten thousand Names, or ten thousand Gods with One Name?”

Whatever your answer, love one another.

God’s peace, Fr. Ed