Author: Pastor Tom Murphy
So many voices sounding off these days. So much anguish; so much misunderstanding. Too many questions; not enough right answers. Questionable actions. Intolerable situations. One can find oneself caught up in diverse positions on one issue or another. There was only one issue for little Billy. It was time for him to go to kindergarten. On his first day he was frightened. In his brief life he had never been so frightened. Seldom had he ever been dropped off with a room full of strangers. His mother had tried to prepare him for his first day of school. However, as she walked down the sidewalk toward her car, Billy’s mother looked back toward the kindergarten classroom. There she saw her beloved and only child standing on a table in front of a window with his arms outstretched, his terrified face pressed tightly against the glass screaming, “Hey Mom, can I get some help over here!”
Watching television and reading our newspaper this week has caused me to join with little Billy in saying, “Hey, can we get some help here!” I don’t need to frame the pictures of death, destruction, anger, hatred and evil intentions that have been paraded before us. They have recalled for me a song I heard back in the 60’s. Those who really know me know how much I love music, another of God’s beautiful gifts offered to us all. I am a fan of most all music that falls upon my ear from country to opera to classic to rock and roll, and of course jazz. Speaking of the 60’s song I have recalled during these days speaks so well relative to what we are needing at this moment in the midst of our collective dissension. The performing group Youngbloods, a rather uncouth name for a singing group, belted out a message years ago that still sticks in my mind:
Love is but a song we sing/fear’s the way we die/You can make the mountains ring/or make the angels cry/Though the bird is on the wing/and you may not know why.
“Come on people now/Smile on your brother/Everybody get Together/Try to love one another/ right now.”
Jesus speaking to his disciples gave words of hope and encouragement when he said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. Billy cried out in desperation, “Can I get some help here?”
Dear friends, maybe the Lord God is calling you and I to prayerfully consider his commandment in these days of our trouble as a nation and a people. Maybe loving God Almighty requires us to take seriously what He proclaims to all believers: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In loving others, hard as that may be, is it better not to simply judge them but to listen, to attempt to understand their plight? Oh my, how easy it is to make judgement upon others. How human to cast aspersions toward another whatever may be their race, color, or faith persuasion. “Love one another” said the Lord as you expect to be loved. As Billy stretched out his arms for assistance in a frightening situation, in this frightening hour we need to exert every effort to listen to our brothers and sisters who are struggling to be heard. We need to pray for them and ourselves. We cannot condone lawlessness where it occurs, but we can with reason seek understanding. We are called to be “our brother/sisters’ keeper.” Lord, can we get some help? Is anyone listening?
About the Author:
Tom is a retired pastor serving Sunset Drive UMC. He has pastored large and small churches in our Conference and has served as the Charlottesville District Superintendent. Since retirement, Tom has served as Interim Pastor at three churches. He has served the Virginia Annual Conference in many, many ways and continues to offer excitement and joy to his churches.