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When harmony doesn’t come easily

January 20, 2014

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Harmony. Balance. Center. Agreement. Accord. Synchronization. Bringing Together.

These are all words we use to talk about a principle that is bedrock for my life and this blog.

Recently I ran across a Bible reference that stood up and said “That could be a theme verse for your blog if you need one.”

“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5, 6

As I reflect on this verse and think about harmony seekers in my life, the world, or history, I realize that those who stand up for justice and peace do not always arrive at these goals through inner-peace-producing methods. I was reminded of us this hearing Dr. David Evans of Eastern Mennonite Seminary speak convincingly on our local news broadcast saying that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just a nice black preacher with a poetic dream. He reminded us that we’ve “domesticated” the legacy of King into a nice story forgetting that at the time, King, obviously, angered and upset many people.

Jesus also said he did not come to bring peace but a sword:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10: 34-37

The quote within the quote here is referencing the origins of Jesus’ line from Micah 7:6.

Jesus and Dr. King er, uh, both were assassinated by the way. Nothing too harmonious there. Many of the early Christians and Anabaptist leaders of my own faith heritage were tortured and killed for standing up for their beliefs. They did not gain peace and harmony with authorities. They left their families in grief and discord, but followed the difficult way of God’s call.

These are not things we often hear about in sermons and especially not on Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday weekends.

The larger goal for both these men, though, were ultimately bringing about inner peace and justice with God, and between humans.

So how and why should we seek harmony?

1. To keep ourselves together.
2. To keep our families together.
3. To cross fences and build bridges in communities.
4. To reach across great ideological (political, theological) gaps for whatever common threads of similarity we can find.

However, we can’t do these things with just a kiss and a patch. No lasting fence or bridge or treaty holds without getting to bedrock to deal with the very real differences between us, to listen to each other and find understanding. That takes a commitment to love that goes beyond differences.

It is the principle for which both these men, and many other men and women throughout history, have given their lives.

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Who or what brings harmony in your life? How do you seek peace?

For more on where I get some of my genes leaning toward harmony and peace, read this on my dad.

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From → Faith, Family Life

One Comment
  1. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    Well written and thought provoking.
    Even for those of us who are Christians and follow Jesus teachings,we run into times when sadly there is not harmony on our lives and relationships even in families are cause for sadness.
    We still look to the Lord to give us His peace and comfort and direction, even in the midst of these stormy times

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