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Be builders of bridges

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Dear Friends: The following article is from the Ogdensburg Ministerial Association We hope you find it uplifting and informative.

By THE REVEREND LAURENA MARIE WICKHAM WILL

The First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg

This past Sunday we faced a text that talked about bridging the chasm that separates people. The lesson for us was about working to bridge the gap that separates people from one another.

I am a firm believer in the thought that God gives us one another to learn and grow from. We are not all the same. How could we learn and grow if we were? God gives us one another to learn and grow from, but it is up to us to see to it that the bridges get build and the chasm is crossed.

In our society today, in our contemporary politics it feels to me like we are expanding the chasm. Our goal is not to help others or even to see that they need help. I hear things like, “don’t enable them to be where they are by helping them, make the take care of themselves by not helping them.” Some time I heard a person talking about the psych center say something to the effect of, “everyone is curable and should be living in outside the walls of a hospital.” As if it does not matter that mental illness is debilitating, paralyzing and sometimes puts the individual and others in grave danger.

I have yet to find where Jesus teaches us to think and act this way. I have yet to read where Jesus says, “don’t feed the hungry for they are lazy, don’t pay a living wage for they are not smart enough to deserve more, let the prisoner die alone for they have committed a crime, don’t educate the poor or the minority for they shall have to find they own way, don’t care for the sick for they can care for themselves, don’t care for the poor in spirit that is their problem for not attending church.”

I try to not preach politics and yet I struggle to do that if I am to preach Christ in today’s world. Government officials are to be leaders and most importantly public servants. I find that the servant piece to be missing, that understanding of taking time away from a career to care for others, to see to the best interest of the people. We are called to care, we are called to serve, we are a nation of many faiths and all of them have as a core principle servant-hood and caring and yet we do not put it first.

It is not about the wealthy and the poor in fiscal matters, it is about wealthy and poor in how we care and how we build the bridge that connects us as human beings. We are indeed all different and very differently gifted. Some are doctors and some are patients, how else would the doctor have the opportunity to use their gift? No, we are not all born with minds that work the same and we are not all born with the same abilities and disabilities but we are all children of God no matter by what name we call God.

There is neither slave nor free, Greek nor Jew, male nor female, gay nor straight, black nor white, rich nor poor, smart nor stupid, healthy or sick, we are all one, all the same in the eyes of our creator and all worthy of being cared for and about. Sometimes that care means sharing what we have in tangible resources, sometimes it means making sure the sick receive care, sometimes it means teaching someone to cook, sometimes it mean a free crock pot.

It does not mean politicians fighting over important issues and spinning them with untruths and half truths to win votes. It does not mean holding one thing hostage as a manipulation - which seems to be the status quo for most all of politics. “You do this for me and I’ll donate to your re-election fund.” Or “you do this for me and I’ll get my people to vote for you.” These things are not about caring, they are about power and control for the sake of power and control.

In order for us to live full and rich lives we must work to bridge the chasm that separates us from others, whatever that chasm might be. Let us be builders of bridges in what we do.

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