Spirituality for Today – Winter 2019/2020 – Volume 24, Issue 2

Difficult to Love

Rev. Raymond Petrucci

Why has it become so difficult to love people? What has happened to everyone? Something is toxic in the atmosphere. The media reports about the attitudes and the activities of hate groups – usually the hate groups that they hate. Extremist activists sow fear, anxiety, and ignorance. Whatever horrible incidents of mass shootings occur, we can be thankful for the Herculean effort being made by law enforcement agencies throughout the country in preventing many other individuals from carrying out acts of terror.

If we look to Washington, D.C. for the answer, we discover a community of elected officials who seem to be adept only at opposing each other. Of course, this attitude is part of the overall problem. Our governing bodies cannot become representative of a gang war. Our national election is forthcoming. Here we go again. We shall elect either incumbents or first–time office holders. Will these men and women be willing to work effectively for the common good or will they become returning or new combatants in a do nothing congress? The real question will be one of whether or not the voting public will demand bi-partisan action or acquiesce to the "same old, same old?" In the gospels, Jesus warned us of the dangers a "house divided" and President Abraham Lincoln used this imagery for a national crisis that ultimately led to a great Civil War. A democracy is a challenging form of governing, and, by its nature, involves some head–butting, but compromise and mutually beneficial solutions must be possible. Admittedly, throughout our national history, the political scene has been contentious. When, however, the needs of the people become registered in the minds of these elected officials through the efforts of those very people – voters, action can take place. We are waiting.

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free,

Langston Hughes

I am beginning to become depressed. Thank God for Advent. It is a season of introspection, a season of spiritual growth, and a wonderful season of promise and hope. Advent is a time of feeling loved, worthwhile, and wanted by a God who reaches out for us as one who became one of us. Founded in this truth, we are capable of moving into the future with confidence. If people feel rooted in nothing, they only can view themselves and other people as nothing. Any effective response to the question of the difficulty of loving one another is to be found in the essential and substantive process to which we are called during the season of Advent.

If we are thoughtful, we can envision Advent as a time of preparation not only for Christmas Day, but also for every day. Our sins of commission and of omission are met with a resolve to mend a fractured conscience through the love of a healer and savior. If we view a world of the unlovable, or the very difficult to love, we need to remove the beam from our own eye in order to remove the speck from another's eye. Jesus calls us to affirm ourselves as loveable because we are loved and capable of loving. People have forgotten who they are. When one regains an awareness of being God's children and view others as such, the power of Advent can come to fruition.