Clergy Corner: Hands Across The Hills

This is the name of a program created between two, very diverse communities.  A group of progressive, Democratic voters in Massachusetts and a group of conservative, Republican voters in Kentucky reached out to one another in order to create a “working dialogue.” 

Hands Across The Hills

This unique and promising innovation was borne out of the 2016 election.  These two groups have felt and seen the divisions experienced across our country.  They feared for their children and their livelihood.  They feared that if civil conversation did not take place, tragically, this nation would get to a place of no return.  

So, the two groups have traveled, to and fro, between the rural and rolling-hills of Kentucky to historical and quaint Massachusetts.  There was initial trepidation and reservations.  This should have come as no surprise.  These were strangers meeting and willing to discuss matters of such grave importance.  And talk they did!  The Republicans voted as they did because of the promises made of reopening the coal mines in Kentucky which, virtually, was the lone employment source for many in this area.  Theirs was a single, lone reason to vote as they did.  Conversely, the Democratic voters chose their candidate based on promises of better gun restrictions, a “green energy” plan and health care.  Interestingly, both groups, after much dialogue discovered they had much more in common with one another than any differences they had, aside from their particular, presidential candidates.  Their efforts were not meant to persuade one side of changing their political tastes.  This was not a tool to “bring anyone over” to the other’s side.  This was meant as a means of opening up channels that had been turned off and shut down.  This was a tool to help break down the walls that have been built and bridging two varying sides closer to one another.  

The groups, by their own admittance had fallen in love with one another.  The friendship that had blossomed was remarkable.  The Kentucky contention openly wept and jokingly, yet perhaps with as much seriousness, wanted their new “family” to stay with them in Kentucky.  Meanwhile, the Massachusetts group have all but adopted their new friends.  Truly, a beautiful bridge has been built and we pray, all of us, that this bridge is but the beginning of more such, loving construction.

My sisters and brothers in Christ, Advent is a time of waiting:  we anticipate Christ’s entry into our world.  It has been over 2000 years and now, we await His return, in stunning glory.  However, we are asked, while we wait, to do those things viewed and considered as “good, right and holy.”  Loving our neighbors including those who we may not be in agreement with; forgiving those who have wronged us and seeking forgiveness from those whom we have wronged; settling long, held disagreements and healing old wounds lest they are allowed to fester even longer.  We are called upon to be “Christ like,” Christian in our demeanor and behavior.  Waiting does not have to be a dark and trying ordeal.  Certainly, waiting tries our patience.  However, what we are waiting for, He, whom we are anticipating certainly is well worth our time, our effort and our patience.  Let’s take a good, learned lesson from our Massachusetts and Kentucky friends…let’s reach out and help bridge the divisions that we live amidst.  Let us talk and let us listen, carefully and with our hearts as well as our ears.  And in these conversations, let us be mindful of the loving voice of our elder brother, our Jesus, who says, repeatedly, “love one another as I have loved you.”

Let us pray: 

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  

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