“There is beauty all around us,
and the light finds us when we realize,
we are all part of that beauty and worth the cherishing.
If we despise any, we journey to despise ourselves.
See all as beautiful, even if they choose to see themselves through you, as being less than so.
We have the power to see for each, and be the reflection of what they may yet see.”
― Tom Althouse
What God has revealed to me during this three-month journey to address race in America is what Tom Althouse says so powerfully. We have lost sight of beauty. We have failed to look at the person who looks different from us as someone who is a creation of God and that all that God creates is beautiful. All people are valued by God. When we fail to respect the views and opinions of others we lose sight of the beauty of diverse opinions, all people deserve to have their voice heard not dismissed. We political parties paint each other as evil and dangerous and fail to work for the common good of the people. We lose the beauty of community. We are all in this together, working for the common interest.
My heart aches as I look around and see such anger, division, and ugliness. And that ugliness is not just around race. This election season just adds to the ugliness around us. What happened to a time when people with different views could come together and discuss differences with civility? When we could hear opposing points of view, stop to think about those views and confirm those ideas as valid, then work together to find common ground. My spirit is downcast because everything around me seems ugly. The elections process this year is ugly. The race issues in America are ugly. The infighting between different groups and lifestyles is ugly. And the loser in all of this is America. A once great nation founded on Christian principals has lost its beauty. Some will argue we were never a great country. I would argue we were never a perfect country. But we were a nation that strived to promote a God-fearing approach to conflict. We have lost focus. Today, society is forcing the one who created that beauty, God, out of our lives. They have pushed God our of our schools. It is wrong now to gather for prayer after football games in some places. God has been pushed out of our government, out of our laws and out of the American mindset. Why have we decided that God is the problem? I am not sure, but in removing God from the public conscience what we replaced God with is ugliness.
“Sin distorts the beauty of God.”
As I pray for this country, I pray that somehow we return to our roots, to our foundation, to the beauty of the presence of God. Like Israel before, I think the arrogance of America –that it thinks it can be blessed while turning away from God–is dangerous. In Ezekiel 11 God reminds the prophet who is feeling discouraged about the state of Israel that God will keep a remnant. But I pray we don’t need an exile and restoration to realize the beauty we once had with God as our foundation.
“And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:14-19a
In conclusion, if you are feeling the weight of this time in our country and feeling a sense of hopelessness, find comfort in this, God is still seated on the throne. He will never forsake nor abandon us. Our posture now should be people on our knees, praying for those in authority and in this kneeling position see the beauty of God.