August 1, 2016

We Go High


I believe what Frederick Buechner has said about tears is true: "Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are but, more often than not, God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next."

I thought of this last week as my eyes were welling up in front of the television when I heard First Lady Michelle Obama say in her speech: "When they go low, we go high". What beautiful important words. More than tacky partisan inspiration, they speak to our core humanity.

Yes, they were political in this strangest of all political seasons. They speak to a candidate and now unfortunately a party which seems to have no ground or ground floor on hate and division. Let me be clear. Both democrats and republicans can be harsh and exaggerate and say some pretty mean things. We should not emulate either party when they do this.

 But, there is only one candidate who has suggested that another fellow republican candidate's father was involved in a Presidential assassination; or has made fun of a reporter's physical disability; or has called Mexican immigrants rapists; or wants to ban all Muslims; or called a woman fat and ugly; or doesn't seem to mind a KKK endorsement and questions if our first black President is Christian or American enough.

Going high when others or the world goes low is not simply a matter of stoic morality or being "above it all". "Going high" reminded me, as perhaps it did you, of what Paul said long ago: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus".(Phil 3). That 'going high' has something to do with faith. That Jesus is our best definition of what going high means. It is not only the moral high ground, it is where our hearts yearn to be. That rendering not evil for evil, or hate with more hate, but compassion and empathy and service is what ultimately brings success, joy and satisfaction in life. You go low only when stooping down to give others a hand.

No, I won't always do it. But I pray, like the prodigal son, I will always return to it. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil 4)


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